October 2017

Pervert sexually assaulted 10-year-old girl in Jacuzzi

A pervert holidaymaker sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl in a Jacuzzi before following her into a changing area and trying to look under her cubicle wall, a court heard.

Former local government officer Paul Ridgway attacked the youngster – who cannot be named for legal reasons – as she visited a seaside holiday park with her family.

The 44-year-old, from Stone in Staffordshire, grabbed the hand of the victim – who was a “complete stranger” to him – before putting it on to his “naked penis”, a judge said.

At the time, the pair were sat in the Jacuzzi along with the girl’s two sisters.

Ridgway has now been locked up for 18 months following the “opportunistic” sexual assault at the Welcome Holiday Park at Dawlish, Devon, two years ago.

He had been arrested at the park after the young victim told her mother ‘the man made me put my hand on his winkie’

The court heard how he was sat in the Jacuzzi with the girl and her siblings when he pulled her towards him and put her hand on his private parts.

His genitals were said to be protruding from his bathing trunks.

The Jacuzzi, which was in the indoor swimming pool complex, was covered by CCTV which captured some of what happened but did not show the offence itself.

The footage showed burly, 6’2” Ridgway sat next to the victim, before she moved towards him and then stood up, waved one hand in the air and got out of the pool.

She told the jury the holidaymaker had followed her to a changing area a few minutes later and tried to look under the side wall of her cubicle.

Ridgway, who was on holiday with his partner and his 14-year-old son in July 2015, said he was taking a Jacuzzi to treat sunburn.

He insisted there had not been any physical contact with the girl.

He denied sexual assault on a child under 13, but was found guilty following a four-day trial

He was jailed for 18 months by Recorder Mr Richard Stead, who also ordered him to sign on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

The defendant was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which restricts his contact with children and allows police to monitor his use of the internet.

He told him: “You have been found guilty of the sexual assault of a girl of 10 who was a complete stranger to you at a family holiday park.

“You were sat in a Jacuzzi when you grabbed her hand and put it onto your naked penis.

“She pulled her hand away after less than seven seconds and shortly after that she left the Jacuzzi and went to get changed.

“You followed her and tried to look under the cubicle wall while she was changing.

“As a result, not surprisingly, she was very frightened, disgusted, and extremely upset. She is to be commended for the way she gave her evidence.

“Your plea of not guilty meant she had to relive everything, two years after the event.

“You were found guilty on the clearest evidence. You have shown no remorse and made no acknowledgement of what you did.

“You have no recognition of the problem you have and the risk you pose to children.”

Bathsheba Cassel, prosecuting, said the girl’s mother had made a victim impact statement saying she has recovered well from the incident but had been very upset about having to give evidence.