July 2012

Sex beast Paul Berry groomed girl with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes

A sex beast who groomed a girl for sex and plied her with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes has been jailed for 17-and-a-half years.

Paul Berry started the abuse by molesting the victim and it led to him raping her.

The 42-year-old, of Uplands Close, Strood, denied seven charges of rape, one of attempted rape, two of indecent assault and one of sexual assault.

He was convicted at Maidstone Crown Court of all charges except the attempted rape.

Judge Martin Joy said: “The evidence was clear that you groomed her for your sexual gratification, and you plied her with alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis to feed your sexual appetite.”

The judge also commented on his victim’s emotional state as she gave evidence at Berry’s trial in May.

“No one who was in the courtroom will forget her tears and distress,” he said.

At the end of the sentencing hearing, the public gallery erupted in anger at Berry, who was said to continue to “vehemently” deny the offences.

One was heard to say: “You deserve everything you get.” Others thanked the judge.

During the trial, prosecutor Catherine Donnelly said Berry, who worked as a pizza delivery driver, gained the girl’s trust before having full sexual intercourse with her.

“He began to buy her cigarettes and alcohol,” said Miss Donnelly. “She would get very drunk.”

The girl was to tell police that Berry had a lump in his private parts and that his pubic hair was shaved.

“The Crown say this man groomed her,” added Miss Donnelly. “He used alcohol to dull her response. It was a deliberate and manipulative course of conduct.”

When arrested, Berry claimed nothing sexual ever occurred and it was all a pack of lies. He admitted giving the girl alcohol once or twice but denied giving her cannabis.