A MAN once labelled as ‘community hero’ in a Cheshire town has been jailed for eight years after ‘systematically’ abusing two teenage boys.

Chester Crown Court heard Kane Gunter, formerly of Longridge, groomed the two boys – the youngest being 13 at the time the abuse began – and filmed what he did to them.

At a previous hearing, the 56-year-old pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual activity, as well as making and possessing indecent images of children.

Appearing at court for sentencing on Thursday, November 25, Gunter was told by the judge he had an ‘unhealthy interest in children’.

The court heard nine of the charges against Gunter relate to incidents involving two boys.

The first of those took place between April 9 and April 11, 2016, with the defendant admitting to five other charges against the same boy.

The most recent offence took place in 2018 when the victim was still only 15.

Gunter, now of Woodland Lodge in Barmouth, also admitted to three charges of sexual activity with a boy aged 15, which took place between March and August 2018.

This is a fall from grace for the former 'community hero' who was recognised for bringing people together in Knutsford and fundraising for charity back in 2012.

READ > Knutsford child sex offender was former community hero

He was even bestowed the privilege of running with the famous Olympic torch on a leg through Macclesfield for the London 2012 Olympics.

Defending Gunter during sentencing, Mr Farley said his client, who has no previous convictions, was ashamed of his behaviour.

He said he had suffered three brain injuries in his life and has a progressive neurological condition.

But, he accepted that the evidence in the case 'could not be clearer'.

Sentencing, Judge Patrick Thompson told Gunter: "You, back in 2016 through to 2018, were involved in the systematic abuse of two young boys.

"What you did was groomed these young boys and you used them as your sexual play things.

"You filmed what you were doing to them.

"It's clear they are having problems with trust, they are confused, and they struggled to understand what would happen to them at your hands.

"What is clear to me is you are still in denial about your behaviour.

"You have an obsessive sexual interest in children.

"It seems to me that until you accept you have a problem, you can't be helped with it."

As well as imposing an eight-year sentence, Judge Patrick Thompson made Gunter the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for life and a restraining order.

Gunter must also sign the sex offenders register for life.