COUNTY NEWS: Psychotherapist jailed for raping boy in leisure centre toilets

Nicholas Gully (Photograph: Sussex Police)
Nicholas Gully (Photograph: Sussex Police)

A Sussex psychotherapist has been sentenced to 17 years for the rape of a young teenage boy and two other sex offences against him, in a toilet at a leisure centre, police said.

Nicholas Gully, 48, was a self-employed psychotherapist, of Eley Crescent, Rottingdean, who worked from offices in Hove.

He was sentenced at Hove Crown Court today, having been convicted at the same court on Monday, July 31 after a six-day trial, of raping the boy and committing two other sexual assaults against him.

The offences took place in a cubicle at the mens’ toilets at the King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove on the afternoon of Sunday, January 29 this year.

Gully will spend the first 11 years of his sentence in custody, and the other six years will be spent on prison release licence. He will also be a registered sex offender for life and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) severely restricting his access to children under 16.

Detective Sergeant Julie Greenwood said: “Gully deliberately targeted this young boy who he spotted in the reception area where the boy was waiting for his mother, he followed him and subjected him to the most degrading assault.

“Thanks to swift reporting by the boy the same afternoon, and our enquiries which with the help of CCTV quickly identified Gully, he was soon arrested and picked out in an identification procedure. Other evidence also connected him to the offence.

“Gully initially refused to comment in our interviews with him. He subsequently admitted the encounter, but pleaded not guilty, claiming in court that it was consensual, and that he reasonably believed the boy was 16 or over, despite not having any evidence to support that belief.

“The jury clearly saw through this account.

“We very much admire the courage of the victim in giving evidence in court. We also acknowledge the readiness of three of his friends, who engaged in text-exchanges with him immediately after the crime and encouraged him to contact the police, they were fully prepared to give evidence in court but were not required.

“Anyone who wishes to report sexual offences of any kind can always contact us. You can report online or call 101. All reports will be treated in confidence and you can arrange to speak to experienced investigators.”

The boy’s mother said when Gully was convicted on July, 31: “The last six months have been a horrendous time for my son and my entire family.

“The unimaginable events that took place that day with him being deliberately targeted and attacked by a serious sexual predator whilst waiting for a lift home from me have had devastating consequences for my son and close family.

“He has had to come to terms with what has happened to him and also deal with the police investigation and trial. What has stood out to us is his outstanding bravery in coming forward immediately after the incident and the incredible support of his close friends, and the professional services involved including the police and Survivors Network workers.

“I believe the perpetrator to be a serious sexual predator who if he had not been detained would have been an ongoing serious threat to young people. We are so relieved that the trial is now over and are looking forward to moving forward with our lives.”