April 2017

Man jailed for 18 years for sexually abusing young girls

A child abuser has been jailed for 18 years for making blindfolded children take part in sex acts during food tasting games.

Damien Treavartha of Bourden Hill, Newton Abbot, made two young girls taste mystery items which they could not see and used it as a ploy to get them to take part in oral sex with him. He told them the items were mushrooms, bananas or red peppers. 

He recorded some of the assaults secretly on his phone and the clips were found by police after one of his victims disclosed what he had done.

The nine-year-old girl had remained silent for more than a year but told her mother after attending an NSPCC awareness course at her primary school.

Police discovered he had abused an 11-year-old girl in exactly the same way when she had visited his home in Newton Abbot for a sleepover.

 He had also filmed himself committing a sexual assault on a third girl, aged eight or nine, who he partially stripped as she was sleeping. She has not been told about the footage and still does not know what he did.

Treavartha, aged 34, befriended single mothers as a means of gaining access to their children.

The main victim of his abuse suffered a variety of different sorts of assault, including being made to touch his penis during another blindfold game in which she had to guess what sort of objects were in a carrier bag.

He abused her in the bath and while pretending to mend a hole in the crotch of a pair of tights which she had torn at school.

Treavartha, aged 34, of Bowden Hill, Newton Abbot, admitted two counts of rape, one of attempted rape, inciting sexual activity with a child, two counts of sexual assault, and two of engaging in a sexual act while in her presence.

He also admitted inciting another girl aged 11 to engage in sexual activity and to sexually assaulting the sleeping girl.

Judge Erik Salomonsen jailed him for 18 years with a five year extended licence and ordered him to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life. He also made an order banning any future unmonitored contact with children.

He told him: ’It is quite clear from the evidence, including that from your own phone, that you devised a strategy in order to abuse these children for your own sexual gratification.

’ You taped or blindfolded your victims’ eyes and pretended your penis was a food item so you could place in their mouth. On another occasion you used a hole in bed clothes to achieve the same strategy.

’It must be the case that you intended to view the films which you made later to gain yet further sexual gratification by looking at these sexual assaults on very young girls.

’Your offending illustrates graphically a planned pattern of offending in which you targeted pre pubescent girls at a time when you had engineered placing yourself in their homes.’

The judge declared Treavartha to be a dangerous offender, which means he will have to serve at least 12 years before he is entitled to apply for parole.

Mr Judith Cornwall, prosecuting, said the abuse of the first girl started in early 2014 when she was six.

He pretended to have little interest in the girl but once left alone with her he started the food and carrier bag games.

She did not tell her mother until January this year when she attended a class at school to raise awareness of the danger of sexual abuse.

Police then discovered the clips on Treavartha’s phone, two of which showed the food game and another of which showed him abusing a sleeping child.

Miss Cornwall said: ’There was a catalogue of offending over time in which the victim was groomed and used for his sexual gratification.

’The blindfolding was done to disable the girl so she would comply. She saw him as a figure of authority and he had groomed her to accept the games.

’It was a planned pattern of behaviour in which he moved from family to family targeting single mothers and taking advantage of the vulnerability of their children.’

Treavartha tried to blame the children themselves for his offending and even when he was shown the footage on his phone he claimed someone else had been responsible.

Victim impact statements showed the girls felt their lives had been ruined. One drew two pictures showing her family before and after. One showed happy faces, the other sad ones.

Her mother said she will never be able to trust anyone again. She said her family had been forced to move away from the area because of cyber bullying on social media.