September 2016

Pervert jailed after stalking schoolgirl for over two years 


A paedophile who stalked a primary-school-aged girl for two-and-a-half years and took indecent photos of her has been jailed for four years.

Andrew Appleby, 45, of Causey Row, Newcastle developed an “unhealthy obsession” with the girl and subjected her to trauma by controlling her life, Durham Crown Court heard on Monday October 3.

The pervert had hundreds of photos of the girl who he had an “inappropriate interest” in.

Appleby, gave the girl an old mobile phone so he could stay in constant contact with her, messaging up to 85 times a day asking for details about every aspect of her life, the court was told.

Appleby blackmailed the girl and threatened to show a video recording of her swearing to her mother if she didn’t do as he said.

He got angry when she spent time with friends and went to birthday parties.

Prosecutor Tamara Pawson said: “He would threaten to tell her mother and show her the video of her swearing so unbeknown to the mother the little girl would throw out or hide party invitations she was given at school.”

After two-and-a-half years the tortured youngster told her mother that he had “been mean to her and did bad things”, the court heard.

When he was arrested in April 2015 police found him clutching a hard drive with hundreds of images of the girl, some indecent, he had tried to delete.

Appleby used photos of the girl when the offences took place as his screensaver on his computer and mobile phone.

Police found 1,206 diary entries on Appleby’s mobile phone logging the girl and her family’s movements and his feelings of happiness when he spent time with her.

In one entry read out in court he expressed frustration that the child was enjoying spending time riding on her bike instead of spending time with him and said: “Sick of that bike, if she keeps choosing that bike over me there’s going to be big trouble.”

The court also heard Appleby, who lived in County Durham at the time the offences took place, forced the child to watch inappropriate material, holding her by her legs if she tried to leave.

Appleby pleaded guilty to one count of stalking and eight counts of making indecent images of children.

In a statement read out in court, the girl’s mother said: “In April 2015 our whole world came crashing down when we discovered the treatment she had suffered for the last few years.”

She said it was heartbreaking that the girl had kept the situation to herself for years.

“The look on her face when she was telling us what happened will stay with us forever.”

The court heard that the little girl still has nightmares and wakes up crying worrying he is going to kill her dad.

“She is a changed little girl, her childhood has been stolen by him making her live like this,” her mum said.

Mitigating, Glen Gatland admitted Appleby’s behaviour had been reprehensible but said that he is a man of previous good character who had “too much time on his hands” after being made redundant in 2010.

He said: “He has said he is really, really sorry. that is something.”

When questioned by police, and at Initial court hearings, Appleby denied taking the photos or video himself and tried to pin the blame on a young boy.

Judge Simon Hickey refused to accept this and said to do so would “fly in the face of common sense”.

Sentencing Appleby to four years behind bars Judge Hickey said: “The underlying motive in this case was that you were aiming to take indecent photos of this girl.

“You were able to integrate yourself into the family so that you were able to target and groom that girl and make her behave in a way that if she had had a childhood she would not have behaved.”

Appleby was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life and was made subject to a sexual harm behaviour order.