November 2016

Former Leek firefighter has been jailed for 12 years for raping a schoolgirl


Former Leek firefighter David Bennett has been handed a 12-year jail sentence for raping a schoolgirl – after the victim came forward when it was reported he had been caged for abusing another child.

The 65-year-old, pictured, is already serving a six-year jail term after being locked up last year for sexually assaulting a schoolboy.

A report of that case was seen by a woman who had been raped by Bennett decades earlier – and prompted her to go to the police for the first time.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard she had been subjected to sexual abuse numerous times.

On one occasion Bennett took her to Leek fire station, where he worked, and made her perform a sex act.

Prosecutor Jonathan Dickinson said: “The defendant told her, ‘It’s our little secret’, and ‘You won’t get into trouble, everybody does it’.”

Mr Dickinson added: “When the victim read about the defendant’s last court appearance in the press she came forward to speak to the police.

The defendant was arrested on December 4 and denied the offences during interview. Bennett, who formerly served in the Royal Navy, later admitted two charges of rape, three offences of indecent assault and four counts of indecency with a child.

In a statement, his victim said she had suffered flashbacks of the abuse and undergone counselling.

When she read about last year’s case, she said she felt guilty that she had not reported what happened to her.

Last year Bennett, formerly of Harecastle Avenue, Talke, had admitted two charges of sexual assault of a child under 13; five offences of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity; and one offence of causing a child to watch a sexual act.

Peter McCartney, mitigating, said: “There is little I can say. He acknowledges his behaviour was outrageous. He is taking positive steps while in prison to address his offending.”

Sentencing Bennett to 12 years in prison – which will begin at the end of his current sentence – Judge Paul Glenn told him: “You groomed the victim and abused her from an early age. She plainly suffered significant psychological harm.”

August 2015

FORMER fire-fighter David Bennett has been jailed for six years after he sexually assaulted a schoolboy who was aged under 13

The 64-year-old – who also served his country with the Royal Navy – abused the youngster over a 13-month period, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Saleema Mahmood said the defendant performed sex acts on the boy and encouraged him to perform one on him.

He asked the youngster to perform another sex act on him but he refused.

And on another occasion the defendant showed the schoolboy footage of a man and woman having sex.

Miss Mahmood said the offending has had a ‘significant impact’ on the boy.

The defendant was arrested after the victim reported the abuse on May 28.

Bennett told police he did not get any sexual gratification from the first incident and denied being sexually attracted towards children.

Miss Mahmood added: “The Crown say he was seeking to minimise what occurred.”

Bennett, of Harecastle Avenue, Talke, pleaded guilty to:

  • Two charges of sexual assault of a child under 13

  • Five offences of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity

  • One offence of causing a child to watch a sexual act

Andrew Turnock, mitigating, said Bennett acknowledged his actions have had a ‘devastating’ effect on the victim.

Mr Turnock said: “He has expressed genuine guilt and remorse for the consequences of his actions.

“He has demonstrated no self pity. He accepts his fate with fortitude and stoicism.”

The court was told Bennett undertook nine tours of Northern Ireland while in the Royal Navy and received the General Service Medal. He then completed 30 years in the fire service where he received numerous commendations including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.

Mr Turnock added: “His life is shattered into pieces. He is an isolated, lonely man.”

Bennett was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life and was made the subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.

Judge David Fletcher said: “This was repeated abuse for your own sexual gratification. The effect upon the victim has been catastrophic. He will take a considerable time to get over this, if he ever manages to get over it.”

Bennett will serve half the sentence in prison with the rest on licence.