SCORES of criminals appeared in our courts last year and were convicted of sex offences.

These are some of the worst who were sent to prison in 2020 for horrific crimes in Sussex.

In May The Argus reported on the case of former Brighton choirmaster Jonathan Smith who was found guilty of raping a little girl.

The 57-year-old, who was the former musical director of Brighton Festival Chorus from 1983 to 1998 was found guilty of 16 counts of sex attacks.

At Hove Crown Court it was revealed Smith used blackmail and threats to keep his victim silent.

The Argus:

It included abusing her with her own Barbie doll, and raping her, telling her they had a “special relationship”.

His victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, described her “torture” and says she has been “haunted” every day by what the paedophile did.

“It was like a TV series of awfulness,” she said.

Judge Paul Tain said the victim had made attempts on her own life. He jailed Smith for a total of 24 years after the defendant was extradited from Australia earlier this year to stand trial.

In January we reported on the case of William Harris, a handyman from Crowborough, who raped a ten-year-old girl.

The 29-year-old admitted the rape and also took indecent images of the girl.

The Argus:

Detective Constable David Peek of the East Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit said: “Harris exploited this vulnerable and innocent young girl for his own sexual gratification, but his offending came to notice when she reported what was happening to a member of her family.

Harris, of Aldervale Cottages, Crowborough, was jailed for 13 and a half years, and will not be released half through the prison term.

Instead he will serve at least two thirds of the sentence behind bars before he can be considered for parole, and will be subject to an extra three years on licence whenever he is released.

Meanwhile Ewing Gilmour also caused shock when he attempted to rape a 13-year-old girl in an alleyway in Chichester.

The 21-year-old spoke to her before pouncing in an alleyway and sexually assaulting her.

But the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, broke free and ran away before alerting the police.

The Argus:

Gilmour, of Selsey, West Sussex, denied the offence, but was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment with an extended term of three years after being found guilty by a jury at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Sentencing Gilmour, the Judge condemned him for his "brazen and determined attempt to rape a vulnerable victim who was 13".

Crawley paedophile Adam Arnold admitted four counts of child rape on a girl aged between ten and 14.

The 32-year-old was guilty of the “systematic” abuse of the girl.

Detective Constable Ellen Jones said: “Arnold came to know his victim, and five years ago began this horrific and systematic abuse which she suffered, unbeknown to anyone else, until she felt able to confide in someone she knew last year, and we were promptly informed.

“We took immediate action and Arnold was arrested.

The Argus:

“This young girl had endured the trauma and distress of what happened to her, in secret, and we admire all the more her courage and resolution in now supporting both our investigation and the prosecution.”

Arnold, of Webb Close, Crawley, was jailed for 15 years.

In August we reported on the horrific rape of a young woman in Wimpy in Portslade by restaurant manager Peraslingam Nanthvavaraman.

The 40-year-old had lied to the victim about having a wife and child in order to gain her trust.

The Argus:

He showed a “sense of entitlement” about women and a desire for “thrill seeking”.

Nanthvavaraman had been working in the UK illegally for ten years.

He plied the victim with alcohol and switched off the lights inside the restaurant while he carried out the attack.

The woman’s partner later arrived at the front door and saw her lying unconscious and bruised inside.

Nanthvavavaraman was jailed for eight years, and faces deportation to his native Sri Lanka once his prison sentence is over.

Former Shoreham College teacher and Worthing choirmaster Neil Turner was back in court, after further victims of his sick fantasies came forward.

Victims revealed how the 67-year-old indulged his foot fetish and interest in “reflexology”.

The Argus:

He admitted ten more charges of indecent assault or sexual touching relating to seven children and one adult between the 1980s and 2015.

Turner, of Pevensey Gardens, Worthing, was jailed for two years and four months.

Meanwhile former Christ’s Hospital School master Peter Webb was also convicted of further child sex offences.

The 77-year-old was jailed for another 12 months after a judge told him he still sounded like a true paedophile.

The Argus:

Finally, former scout master Oliver Cooper was jailed for a string of sex offences on children.

The 27-year-old from Bognor was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault on six-year-old girls as well as taking indecent photographs of a child and 13 counts of voyeurism.

He was a Beaver Scouts leader in Horsham at the time he committed the offences, which was more than two years ago.

The Argus:

Appearing at Lewes Crown Court this month, Judge Mooney said the former Household Cavalry soldier showed a lack of remorse for his actions.

The judge sentenced him to six years in prison.