Millionaire businessman led double life as a sex attacker

Sussex Police
Sussex Police believes there are more victims and have urged anyone who thinks they may have been abused by Ian Elliot to contact them

A millionaire businessman who drugged and raped young men and filmed the attacks faces spending the rest of his life behind bars as police appealed for more victims to come forward.

Ian Elliot, 71, was regarded as a pillar of the local community in Pulborough in rural West Sussex, funding sports clubs and a cricket pavilion and supporting charities.

But the married father of two spent years grooming, drugging and abusing teenagers and young men, filming the attacks in a studio above his garage, which he dubbed The Penthouse.

Elliott, who made his money building an office supplies company in the area, lavished money, trips and gifts on the men he abused.

He groomed them with foreign holidays, trips in his helicopter and boat as well as cash and nights out.

But when they were alone he would drug them so they had no idea they had been attacked until police contacted them after finding videos of the attacks.

In more than 90 hours of recordings, Elliott was captured carrying out sometimes violent sexual abuse and rapes of the men often involving riding boots, straps and a wetsuit.

‘Pillar of the community’

In November 2022, Elliott was charged with 92 separate offences, including 13 rapes, three attempted rapes, 13 sexual assaults and 20 counts of voyeurism.

He was remanded in custody and in November pleaded guilty to 11 counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, 17 counts of voyeurism, eight sexual assaults, four counts of possession of Class A, B and C drugs, one count of causing actual bodily harm and one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The guilty pleas related to four victims, aged between 16 and 28 at the time of the offences. Almost 40 further charges will remain on file.

Sentencing him to 18 years in prison with a further five on licence, judge Jeremy Gold KC told Elliott he showed no remorse or empathy towards his victims.

Det Supt Miles Ockwell, head of Sussex Police’s safeguarding investigations units, said: “Today’s sentence means that Ian Elliott will spend a significant amount of the rest of his life in prison.

“This is the only appropriate outcome given the multiple lives he has ruined as a result of his relentless campaign of sexual abuse, hidden behind the facade of a trustworthy pillar of his local community.

“I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the bravery of Elliott’s victims who came forward to help us bring him to justice. They will live with the effects of the horrendous abuse they have suffered for the rest of their lives.

Mr Ockwell added: “Despite a wide-ranging, complex police investigation, we cannot be sure that there are not other unidentified victims of abuse perpetrated by Elliott and I would encourage anyone who does think that they have been a victim to contact police.”