By Amy De-Keyzer
A former police officer who sexually assaulted teenagers at his homes in Caterham and East Sussex has been jailed for life.
Philip Gaisford, 64, was told he would serve a minimum of 12 years behind bars after being convicted of 28 sexual offences on Friday (May 31) following a seven-week trial at Lewes Crown Court.
The former Metropolitan Police chief superintendent, of Old Lane, Crowborough, East Sussex, was found not guilty on six further counts. He had denied all the charges.
Gaisford was convicted of offences against several victims between 1997 and 2008.
The charges included indecent assaults on three teenage boys in Caterham and Crowborough; attempted sexual assault on two teenage girls in Sussex; two sexual assaults and an attempted sexual assault on a male teenager in Crowborough; five sexual offences, including one rape, against a teenage boy in Crowborough; one offence of sexual activity with a teenage boy in Sussex; the rape of a woman in Caterham; and 10 offences of possession of indecent videos of children.
Gaisford was found not guilty of three indecent assaults on boys in Caterham, one sexual assault on a boy in Crowborough, one act of indecency with a boy in Crowborough and a charge of perverting the course of justice.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Rob Morland said: "Gaisford systematically and cynically abused trusting young people who had become involved with him in his capacity as a scuba diving instructor, and the court clearly found his conduct to be a gross breach of trust."
"The investigation of this case was complex and I thank the witnesses for their courage in giving evidence."
"The verdict shows that if victims are willing to come forward, they will be supported to be able to give their evidence and justice can be achieved."
During his trial, the court heard how Gaisford started running scuba diving sessions from the swimming pool at his Caterham home in 1999 after retiring from the police. He continued with the business after moving to Crowborough.
Jurors were told it was during one-to-one lessons and "pool parties" when Gaisford would ply youngsters with alcohol and abuse them.