'Glowing references' sees former Netley Marsh parish councillor's sentence cut

Daily Echo: Robert Giddings. Robert Giddings.

A former parish council leader who was jailed for ten years for a catalogue of sexual abuse against children has had his sentence cut by top judges.

Well known businessman Robert Giddings, who once a partner of his family-run RF Giddings sawmill, was put behind bars last year for historic sex attacks on young girls.

The now 55-year-old, who was also chairman of a school's governing body, was found guilty by a jury at Southampton Crown Court last March for the attacks on the girls aged eight and 11 more than 20 years ago.

But now three of the country’s most senior judges at London's Appeal Court have upheld his sentence challenge, ruling that the “just and proportionate” term he should serve is eight years.

Lord Justice Laws said Giddings, of Wayside Road, St Leonards, targeted the three girls when he was in his 30s, touching them intimately over their clothes. Despite appearing a pillar of the community, Giddings had previously been cautioned for assault in 1991, after he tried to grab a young girl, the appeal judge added.

Giddings quit his role as councillor at Netley Marsh Parish Council when the allegations surfaced, before also stepping down from the governing body of Netley Marsh Infant School.

His lawyers presented “glowing references” testifying to his good character at a sentencing hearing before he was ultimately jailed, the appeal judge added.

“A pre-sentence report recorded that he was still protesting his innocence,” Lord Justice Laws said. On appeal, Giddings’ lawyers argued that ten years was too long, especially considering that the historic nature of the offences meant he would serve at least two-thirds of the jail term before qualifying for automatic release.

Lord Justice Laws, sitting with Mr Justice Globe and Judge Paul Batty QC, agreed, saying: “In our judgment, the just and proportionate sentence would have been a total of eight years.”

Comments (17)

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11:26am Wed 22 Jan 14

hulla baloo says...

Historic or not, he was found guilty and should rot behind bars. That way there is no chance of reoffending.
Wonder how much he paid for these 'appropriately timed glowing' references?
Historic or not, he was found guilty and should rot behind bars. That way there is no chance of reoffending. Wonder how much he paid for these 'appropriately timed glowing' references? hulla baloo

11:40am Wed 22 Jan 14

Mary80 says...

He's a child molestor i dont care if the friggin pope gave him a reference it does NOT alter what the sick scumbag did. He ruined the lives of everyone around him let him die in prison i say
He's a child molestor i dont care if the friggin pope gave him a reference it does NOT alter what the sick scumbag did. He ruined the lives of everyone around him let him die in prison i say Mary80

11:57am Wed 22 Jan 14

likewatchingbrazil says...

unbelievable, suggest they look into the back ground of the judges now as no one in their right mind would reduce a sentence for a peado.
unbelievable, suggest they look into the back ground of the judges now as no one in their right mind would reduce a sentence for a peado. likewatchingbrazil

12:26pm Wed 22 Jan 14

lisa.cupra says...

Senior judges really???? Think they should start to look at the crimes these things are committing, time and time again. When is enough going to be enough, you can not cure these people, so they will continue as there is no punishment for them. That thing {cant call him a man} had already been cautioned for assault 1991 for trying to grab a young girl, there is his "glowing reference" {i did it once so will get away with it again}, and he has. When is this country going to wake up to these sick pedophiles and WE start looking after our young and venerable children and adults.
Senior judges really???? Think they should start to look at the crimes these things are committing, time and time again. When is enough going to be enough, you can not cure these people, so they will continue as there is no punishment for them. That thing {cant call him a man} had already been cautioned for assault 1991 for trying to grab a young girl, there is his "glowing reference" {i did it once so will get away with it again}, and he has. When is this country going to wake up to these sick pedophiles and WE start looking after our young and venerable children and adults. lisa.cupra

12:50pm Wed 22 Jan 14

waltons11 says...

Beyond belief - what an absolute disgrace - why not hire a billboard to give out the message "If you are a middle class paedo that is fine".
These judges should be struck off !!
Beyond belief - what an absolute disgrace - why not hire a billboard to give out the message "If you are a middle class paedo that is fine". These judges should be struck off !! waltons11

12:50pm Wed 22 Jan 14

SPIKEISLANDTRADER says...

SMELLS of MASONIC LODGE involvement !!! I would love to shake more than his HAND
SMELLS of MASONIC LODGE involvement !!! I would love to shake more than his HAND SPIKEISLANDTRADER

1:13pm Wed 22 Jan 14

denybee says...

he has ruined the lives of three girls put them and their families through hell just because he has money even though he was not supposed to have any left
he has ruined the lives of three girls put them and their families through hell just because he has money even though he was not supposed to have any left denybee

1:43pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Jamie@@ says...

The people that gave the glowing references should be ashamed of themselves and hope they're happy they have helped to put another paedophile back on the streets, this country is getting like America and it shows that money can buy you anything
The people that gave the glowing references should be ashamed of themselves and hope they're happy they have helped to put another paedophile back on the streets, this country is getting like America and it shows that money can buy you anything Jamie@@

2:02pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Mary80 says...

The judges should be fired for one thing its a disgrace they can claim this guy had glowing references so the sentence should be lessened. Do the judges even live on planet earth or do they keep their heads in the clouds. He's a dirty disgusting child molesting piece of crap who should NEVER see daylight as long as he breathes
The judges should be fired for one thing its a disgrace they can claim this guy had glowing references so the sentence should be lessened. Do the judges even live on planet earth or do they keep their heads in the clouds. He's a dirty disgusting child molesting piece of crap who should NEVER see daylight as long as he breathes Mary80

3:34pm Wed 22 Jan 14

bigfella777 says...

Sounds like a whole nest of paedophiles.
Sounds like a whole nest of paedophiles. bigfella777

4:35pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Mary80 says...

10 years is TOO LONG for a paedophile? Whose running the justice system Chief Wiggum?
10 years is TOO LONG for a paedophile? Whose running the justice system Chief Wiggum? Mary80

4:51pm Wed 22 Jan 14

tinkerbell1979 says...

This is guilty man who should serve his time for what he did. These 3 girls were the victims in this and they now feel like the criminals it is disgusting. The people that gave the glowing reference obviously have no idea of the true character of this man. Knowing the people involved breaks my heart and theirs that this can happen. This justice system seems so wrong and these girls now feel they are being punished maybe the echo and the court should get references on these girls as I know these would be glowing and honest.
stay strong girls xx
This is guilty man who should serve his time for what he did. These 3 girls were the victims in this and they now feel like the criminals it is disgusting. The people that gave the glowing reference obviously have no idea of the true character of this man. Knowing the people involved breaks my heart and theirs that this can happen. This justice system seems so wrong and these girls now feel they are being punished maybe the echo and the court should get references on these girls as I know these would be glowing and honest. stay strong girls xx tinkerbell1979

5:51pm Wed 22 Jan 14

denybee says...

he would not even say sorry in court. not that it would make it right . he should be kept in prison till death!!
he would not even say sorry in court. not that it would make it right . he should be kept in prison till death!! denybee

6:38pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Sammie b says...

Absolute disgrace, should be left to rot in hell, . He was found guilty . Who was paid off to give glowing references. Makes me so mad. People like him are scum.
Absolute disgrace, should be left to rot in hell, . He was found guilty . Who was paid off to give glowing references. Makes me so mad. People like him are scum. Sammie b

6:44pm Wed 22 Jan 14

For pity sake says...

Mary80 wrote:
He's a child molestor i dont care if the friggin pope gave him a reference it does NOT alter what the sick scumbag did. He ruined the lives of everyone around him let him die in prison i say
If the "friggin pope" gave him a reference I would expect his sentence to be doubled.
[quote][p][bold]Mary80[/bold] wrote: He's a child molestor i dont care if the friggin pope gave him a reference it does NOT alter what the sick scumbag did. He ruined the lives of everyone around him let him die in prison i say[/p][/quote]If the "friggin pope" gave him a reference I would expect his sentence to be doubled. For pity sake

9:48am Thu 23 Jan 14

Poppy22 says...

What message does this give to either paeodophiles or victims? Appalling!
What message does this give to either paeodophiles or victims? Appalling! Poppy22

10:32am Thu 23 Jan 14

Inform Al says...

Removal of his equipment should have been the lower wend of the sentence, can't say punishment any more, but my personal view is that all such paedos should be given a suspended sentence. By the neck.
Removal of his equipment should have been the lower wend of the sentence, can't say punishment any more, but my personal view is that all such paedos should be given a suspended sentence. By the neck. Inform Al

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