December 2018: Jail term cut to nine years by senior judges on appeal
Durham man jailed for sexually assaulting two young girls
A man accused of sexually assaulting two young girls claimed their parents must have planted incriminating forensic evidence in the case.
John David Griffiths ran what was described as, “the full-on attack” in his defence, implying that samples of his dna recovered from inside the victims’ clothing must have been deliberately placed there by the girls’ parents, during his trial at Durham Crown Court last month.
Griffiths claimed he was a victim of the sophisticated conspiracy, so the parents could win compensation.
But, after a five-day hearing, the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts to both counts of sexual assault and the case was adjourned for a month to allow preparation of a pre-sentence report.
The sentencing hearing was told 31-year-old Griffiths, of Fir Avenue, Gilesgate, Durham, still continues to deny responsibility for the assaults, which took place last October.
Jamie Adams, for Griffiths, told the court: “I’m not in a position to say very much after the way the trial was conducted.
The judge, who presided over the trial, said: “What really struck me about this case was the full-on attack and the suggestion of lies and conspiracy made against the family of the two girls.
“If defendants choose to say witnesses are liars, that is their defence, but, it has to be recognised that a jury returned a verdict and said the girls’ parents are not liars, they told the truth.
“I want that recording. It’s bad enough being parents of victims of a sex crime, without being the subject of a defence like this.”
Judge Prince said the offences have, “clearly had a profound effect on both girls, and, to a lesser extent, on their parents.”
Passing a total prison sentence of ten years, he made Griffiths subject of registration as a sex offender, for life, and prohibitions under the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, indefinitely.
He also passed a restraining order, forbidding Griffths from trying to contact or approach the girls, or their parents, “until further order”.