A serial sex offender who carried out a “campaign of rape” has had his prison sentence increased by the Court of Appeal.

Ian Elliott drugged, raped and filmed his attacks on teenagers and young men between 1999 and 2021.

In February, Elliott was jailed for 18 years and ordered to serve a further five on licence after admitting 43 offences, including 37 sex offences against four men, one of whom was raped 11 times.

The Solicitor General, a senior government legal officer, referred the 71-year-old’s sentence to the Court of Appeal, claiming it was “unduly lenient”.

In a hearing on Thursday, three judges increased Elliott’s sentence to 27 years in prison, while maintaining the five-year licence period.

Giving their judgment, Lord Justice Edis said that the “persistence and nature” of Elliott’s “campaign of rape” meant a “significant increase in the sentence imposed by the judge is required”.

He said: “Each of the victims was vulnerable in one way or another and he took advantage of that in a way which was clearly entirely premeditated.”

He continued: “He was able to use his position in society both to commit these offences and thereafter to evade detection for them for a considerable period of time.”

The Argus: Ian Elliott, 71, of North Heath near Pulborough, was accused of committing 92 offences against six victims in West Sussex between 1999 and 2021Ian Elliott, 71, of North Heath near Pulborough, was accused of committing 92 offences against six victims in West Sussex between 1999 and 2021 (Image: Sussex Police)

Elliott, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty in November last year to 11 counts of rape, one attempted rape, eight sexual assaults, 17 counts of voyeurism, four drug charges, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) told the court in written submissions that he “provided alcohol or drugs” to his victims before committing the crimes.

He, from North Heath, near Pulborough, was given the 18-year jail term for the rape offences at Lewes Crown Court and handed shorter concurrent terms for the other crimes, but the AGO said that the offending as a whole meant the sentence was “substantially too short” and was “unduly lenient” as a result.

It said: “The offender plied each victim with alcohol and/or drugs in order to commit the sexual offences.

“The victims either recall very little or nothing at all about the offending, such was their state at the material time.”

It continued: “It is submitted that a significant upward adjustment on the rape offences, and attempted rape, was merited to reflect all of the offending against (the victims) and the non-sexual offending.”

The court was told that following his arrest, Elliott, asked a friend to remove a metal tin from his garage that contained media storage devices, which had footage related to two of his victims.

Lord Justice Edis, sitting with Mr Justice Murray and Judge Dennis Watson KC, said the attempt by Elliott to destroy the footage “was intended to avoid detention and conviction for a significant number of very serious offences”, and contributed to the sentence increase.

Sarah Elliott KC, appearing for the offender, said that while the sentence “might be regarded as lenient”, it was “not unduly lenient on proper analysis of the criminality involved”.

Elliott, who appeared via a video link from HMP Parkhurst, showed no emotion as his sentence was increased.

Following the decision, Solicitor General Robert Courts said: “Ian Elliott is an extremely dangerous predator, abusing his position of trust to commit some of the most horrific rape and sexual offences against young men.

“I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to his victims and their families as they come to terms with this.

“The Court of Appeal quite rightly agreed his sentence was unduly lenient and his sentence increase should serve as a stark warning that sexual offenders will always be punished to the full extent of the law.”