A paedophile subjected a young boy to years of sexual abuse after giving him a job at the shop he worked at.

Glenn Langrish, now Stephens, started his sustained and prolonged abuse of Stephen Lewsey after giving him a job at the lawn mower shop in Crawley.

He befriended Mr Lewsey, then aged ten, over a shortwave radio in 1983.

Eventually the pair arranged to meet and the youngster began working regular weekends at ReeEven Hire with Langrish.

Over the next several years, Langrish sexually assaulted Mr Lewsey every time he worked at the shop and when he was giving him a lift home.

James Oliveira-Agnew, prosecuting, told Hove Crown Court that Langrish drove near to Gatwick Airport on one occasion and abused Mr Lewsey. He also assaulted him at his home.

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Mr Oliveira-Agnew said Langrish “abused his position of trust” and “ingratiated” himself on Mr Lewsey's family and that the abuse involved a “significant” degree of planning.

The court was told Langrish had been convicted before in the 70s and 80s for sexually assaulting young boys including when he was a football coach.

“He had already assaulted numerous young boys by the time he offered the victim a job,” said Mr Oliveira-Agnew.

The abuse of Mr Lewsey stopped in 1989 when Langrish was jailed for unrelated child sex offences. On his release in 1994, he moved to Sweden and changed his name to Glenn Stephens.

Mr Lewsey, now 51, reported the abuse to Sussex Police in 2011 and an international search began for Langrish.

In 2016, Interpol discovered he was living in Vendelso, Sweden, with Swedish citizenship. He was interviewed by Swedish police, but as a Swedish citizen was protected from extradition back to the United Kingdom.

An international warrant was issued for his arrest should he leave Sweden and, in May 2023, Sussex Police were alerted by the National Crime Agency that Langrish was in Poland.

He was brought back from Poland by the Metropolitan Police’s extradition team on July 5, 2023, and taken into custody at Heathrow Airport the same day.

Langrish was subsequently charged with four counts of indecency with a child and four counts of indecent assault on a child.

He was found guilty on all counts at Chichester Crown Court.

Today he was sentenced to 15 years in prison with another three to be spent on licence.

He was told he must serve a minimum of nine years and eight months of his custodial sentence before he is eligible for parole.

In an impact statement, Mr Lewsey, who decided to waive his lifelong right to anonymity, said he could now start to rebuild his life.

"You have no idea the impact you have had on my entire life," he said.

"Until I confided in my wife, I treated this as my “dirty little secret” something that I lived with for the last 40 years, but you have now been found guilty of the crimes that you know you committed. 

"My family has suffered and have blamed themselves for your actions but there is only one person who should accept their responsibility and that is you – Glenn Langrish / Stephens or whatever you have changed your name to now to avoid any further people coming forward.

"I have no shame now, I realise it wasn’t me, it was you that was wrong and I hope more people come forward."

Judge Gary Lucie paid tribute to Mr Lewsey's bravery as he passed his sentence.

“No sentence I can pass can right the wrong that was done to you,” he said.

Speaking after the sentencing Detective Sergeant Becki Buckley said: “Glenn Langrish thought he could hide in Sweden and not have to face justice for his appalling crimes.

“He hugely underestimated the determination of Sussex Police, our partner forces and national agencies and, just as importantly, the resolve of his brave victim.

“I cannot commend Steve Lewsey enough for his courage in coming forward, supporting this investigation for such a long time and choosing to waive his anonymity to help other victims.

“This investigation should send a clear message to victims of sexual offences that we will stop at nothing to get you the justice you deserve.

“If you are a victim of sexual offences, no matter how long ago, please report it to us. You will be heard, you will be believed and we will do everything we can to help you. Report online, via 101 or dial 999 in an emergency.”