January 2019: Released and now living in the Eccles area of Manchester

January 2017

Brave girl, 3, gives evidence in court to help jail the paedophile

A brave girl aged just three years old has become one of the youngest in the country to ever give evidence at a trial where she helped jail the man who sexually abused her.

Thomas Noone was sentenced to three years in prison at Minshull Street Crown Court on Monday for sexually assaulting the little girl last year.

The youngster, who can not be named for legal reasons, was brought into the court and cross examined via a live video link from a separate room during the trial answering questions from prosecution and defence barristers.

She is one of the youngest children to ever be cross examined in crown court.

Prosecuting, Ricky Holland, said her parents found out about the abuse when the child’s mother overheard her daughter describing what happened to another child, and immediately asked her to explain fully.

He said she asked her several questions to ensure it wasn’t a mistake but her daughter was ‘emphatic’ about what had taken place.

Social services were contacted and police were also informed.

Noone, 26, who is dad to a young son, was arrested but denied the charge.

During the seven day trial in November 2016, experts told the court how they found his DNA on the girl’s clothing – providing strong support that he had sexual contact with the youngster.

Noone, of Stretford, was convicted by jury.

In a witness statement the child’s mother said it had been ‘devastating’ for the family

Judge Jeffrey Lewis said: “It’s clear that you abused her for your own sexual gratification.”

He said what he did was a ‘betrayal’ of her very young childhood.

The judge added: “You continue to deny any responsibility about this conduct. You have shown no remorse for what you did.”

He was given a three year sentence, will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offenders’ register for life.

Speaking after the sentencing, the child’s parents said: “We thought it would be around that amount of sentence. We would have been happier with four but that’s the way it goes.

“It’s been a total nightmare from start to finish especially with her having to go into court to give evidence. You read about it in the papers but don’t ever expect it to happen to you.

“We have managed to deal with it and now we are trying to keep everything as normal as possible and be there for her.”