A paedophile was brought to justice 35 years after abusing a six-year-old boy when he found himself in the same prison cell as his victim.

Gary Mottershead, 50, believed he had got away with raping and molesting the young boy he babysat for over a period of several years in the 1980s.

But by a twist of fate, when he was remanded in custody on suspicion of assaulting his wife, he was sent to the same cell as his victim, by then 43, who was being held for burglary.

The victim, who cannot be named, did not recognise him at first.

Mottershead was jailed for six years following a trial at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court. Photo / Getty
Mottershead was jailed for six years following a trial at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court. Photo / Getty

But after a time, he realised who he was and "distressed and shaking," plucked up the courage to tell a prison guard.

In a subsequent statement addressed directly to Mottershead, he said: "I have lived with this all my life and kept it a secret. Prison was the last place I expected you to be and I felt I couldn't get away from it."

Mottershead, from Sale, Greater Manchester, was convicted by a jury of one count of rape and six counts of sexual assault on a male under the age of 13. He was jailed for six years.

Minshull Street Crown Court heard that the assaults occurred when Mottershead was just 15 and had been asked to babysit the victim then aged 6 whilst his parents went out for the evening.

He would usher the boy's older sister to her bedroom, then ply him with cider before coercing him into sexual encounters, telling him it was their "little secret".

He warned that if he told anyone that he would sexually abuse his sister, and "a pattern of abuse" began.

The boy, who came from a "respectable" family, never told anyone. But tormented by his childhood experience, he "went off the rails" at the age of 16 and turned to a life of alcohol, drugs and organised crime.

He found himself face to face with his abuser in August 2015, and Mottershead was arrested.


He pleaded not guilty, claiming that he was an "immature" 15-year-old and had not targeted his victim or was violent towards him in any way.

Thomas McKail, defending, said: "This offending stopped here and there was no repetition. He is now 50 years of age and has no other sexual offending on record."

But Judge Timothy Mort said there was "no doubt" that his victim's subsequent use of drugs and alcohol was an attempt to block out the abuse.

The court heard that the man first admitted he had been abused as a child in 2001 and later told his family but swore them to secrecy.

"He instead carried this burden not knowing how to tell anyone," the judge told Mottershead.

"What you did caused serious emotional distress and has had a bearing on his involvement with crime.

"You knew very well that what you did was wrong, in the way you threatened his sister. This was an abuse of trust situation. This pattern of abuse must have occurred at least 15 if not 20 times. You may have been immature at the time but you were not so immature that you didn't know how to control your victim."

Det Con Paul Walls of Greater Manchester Police said: "Mottershead's behaviour was a complete abuse of trust and shows his depravity as a sex offender.

"The way he acted with a 6-year-old boy is absolutely disgraceful and I am so grateful to the victim that he bravely reported Mottershead's actions so that we could bring him to justice."