July 2017

Torquay paedophile jailed for ‘unforgivable’ sex assault on girl

A paedophile has been jailed for four-and-a-half years for sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl in what the judge described as an ‘unforgivable’ crime.

Matthew Johnson’s actions left his young victim an ’emotional wreck’, Exeter Crown Court was told.

To cries of ‘scum’ from public gallery, Johnson, 30, of Market Street, Torquay, was led away from the dock to the cells.

Johnson had changed his plea after the prosecution served new forensic and medical evidence.

The court heard heart-breaking testimony about the impact of his crime from the victim’s mother.

In a statement she said: “Prior to my daughter being sexually assaulted she was a very happy, outgoing girl. Now she is an emotional wreck. She now receives counselling and has turned into a girl who does not like going outside. She is always frustrated and angry and lashes out both physically and verbally.

“She had told me she does not want to be here anymore and has thoughts about killing herself. I am devastated about seeing my little girl turned into an emotional wreck.”

Prosecutor, Rachel Drake, told the court that Johnson encouraged the girl to play a game with him before assaulting her. When she told him to stop he refused.

The victim had to endure two police interviews and a medical examination, Ms Drake said. But Johnson’s guilty plea meant she did not have to give evidence at a trial.

When he was interviewed by police Johnson initially denied the offence. When police searched his computer they found he had looked up subjects such as ‘what police would need to prove to prove he was a paedophile’, said the prosecutor.

“There was also evidence of internet searches by the defendant for underage boys and girls,” added Ms Drake.

The victim’s mother said in the statement: “I’ve never felt so low and emotionally drained. I feel I am constantly living on the edge. This has had a life-long effect on my daughter.”

Recorder Martin Meeke QC said he would give the defendant 25 per cent credit for his plea.

He said: “You are a man aged 30 and of previous good character. You took advantage of a time you were alone with the victim. It was an appalling thing to do to any child. It is unforgivable.

“Your conduct has had a significant effect on your victim in terms of the psychological damage, as illustrated in the victim personal statement.”

Johnson pleaded guilty to assaulting a female under 13 by penetration.

The defendant will serve half of his sentence in custody and the rest on licence. Recorder Meeke added a further one year to the licence period on his release.

He was also made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order banning his contact with children and will sign the Sex Offenders’ Register.