March 2018

Ex-Army sergeant major who carried out “terrifying” sex attack on schoolgirl

A court heard the former soldier and children’s party company owner thrust his groin towards the victim in an assault which she “fears she will never recover from”.

The 55-year-old denied a charge of sexual assault but was found guilty by a majority verdict following a trial at Worcester Crown Court.

And despite having previous convictions for downloading indecent images of children and possessing extreme pornography he was spared jail on Wednesday.

The court heard Jonathan Sword had shown remorse and had an exemplary military record having reached the the rank of sergeant major with the Royal Armoured Corps.

He was handed a 20 month prison sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

Sword was also given a 30 rehabilitation activity days and told to pay a contribution towards costs of £1,000.

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Cole said of the attack: “She was naturally terrified.”

Prosecutor Daniel White said the assault happened between the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011.

He told the court: “She was pushed onto a table. He pulled down her tights or leggings and thrust his groin area towards her groin area.”

Mr White said the attack lasted three seconds and later he followed her and told her not to tell her mother.

He added: “This was an aggravating feature.

“It has affected her so deeply she feels she will never recover.”

The victim, who cannot be identified, said in a victim impact statement the incident had affected her trust and capacity for intimacy and she was “no longer as outgoing”.

Sword, of Halesowen, West Midlands, was the manager of a Scalextric Circuit attraction providing entertainment for kid’s parties and also worked at a funeral parlour.

The court heard during his time as a mortuary worker concerns were raised about his behaviour and his laptop was seized by police.

Officers discovered a vile collection of 252 indecent images and 59 videos, some at category A (the most serious level).

The videos showed a sex act being performed on a dead body in a mortuary and images of a female being tortured and raped.

It was a report of this case in a local newspaper that persuaded the complainant in the sexual assault to come forward.

Mr White said the officer who had to view the material described it as “a very disturbing collection indeed”.

He was convicted of six counts of making indecent images of children and two of possessing extreme pornography between December 15, 2012 and May 25, 2016

The sexual assault happened before these offences so the judge could not activate the 16 month sentence suspended for two years which was imposed in October 2016.