August 2018

Heartbroken family speak out after teenager sexually assaulted

A heartbroken family have spoken of their horrific year after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted at last year’s Liverpool International Music Festival

The auntie of the victim has spoken of the family’s anguish after the perpetrator was finally brought to justice nearly a year on from the attack at the music festival in 2017.

Neil Ross, 34, formerly of Birkenhead but now living in Hull was found guilty of sexually assaulting a minor and possession of Class A drugs on July 4 at Liverpool Crown Court.

Ross was on July 19 handed a three-month suspended sentence for two years, ordered to sign the sex offenders register for seven years and to complete 120 hours of unpaid work as part of the sex offenders treatment programme.

But while the sentence has brought some closure, the family say their lives have been changed forever following the attack on July 22, 2017.

The victim’s auntie said: “We wanted to speak out because we want young girls and their parents to be aware of what could happen to them at festivals.

“My niece wasn’t specifically targeted by Ross, she could have been any young girl, but what happened that day has traumatised her forever.”

A member of the crowd saw what happened and event security quickly alerted police to what had occurred – but the impact on the teenager has been catastrophic.

The auntie said: “My niece wasn’t supposed to be there that day, her parents just thought she was out with friends.

“When she called home and said what had happened my sister was devastated and thought she was to blame for not knowing where she was – but we all know what teenagers are like.

“Since the attack my niece has completely changed, she suffers with panic attacks and has to get taxis to school because she is scared of being alone on the street around people she doesn’t know.

“She is very emotional and traumatised by the event.

“She was hoping for closure following the sentencing, but since he got a suspended sentence, she is worried she is going to bump into him – it has been a horrific year for us all.

“People going to festivals this year need to be aware that this goes on, we need to empower young girls to see the dangers around them, and older people in crowds need to keep a look out for this kind of behaviour.”