April 2019

Pervert sexually assaulted schoolgirl

AN engineer who sexually assaulted a girl of 15 when he was “out of his head” on a cocktail of drink, cocaine and anti-depressants has been spared an immediate prison sentence.

Liam Wignall, 44, got into bed with the sleeping teenager and molested her by groping her and squeezing her breasts, Bradford Crown Court heard.

He said he had no recollection of committing the offence at a house in Bradford in March, 2017 and told the police he was ashamed and disgusted with himself.

Wignall, of Wesley Road, Armley, Leeds, pleaded guilty last month on the day of his trial to a single count of sexual assault.

Today, he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 150 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 50 days.

Prosecutor Kate Bisset said the girl, who was staying at the house, had gone to bed at 11pm.

She was woken by Wignall sexually abusing her and demanded to know what he was doing.

He was very drunk and repeatedly told her he was sorry.

The following day the girl informed a schoolteacher and the police were alerted.

Wignall said he had taken alcohol, cocaine and anti-depressants that night and could not remember what he had done.

In her victim personal statement, the teenager said she had suffered a great deal since the incident. She became upset and panicked and had been diagnosed with anxiety.

She felt uncomfortable around men and had given up a college course.

Wignall’s barrister, Christine Egerton, said: “He had no recollection of what he had done but in his heart he knew he had done something wrong.”

Miss Egerton said that Wignall was a hard-working man with no similar previous convictions.

“He feels distraught and devastated,” she told the court.

Wignall had ceased all substance abuse and now only drank at the weekends. He had voluntarily attended a course of counselling sessions to deal with his drug and alcohol use.

Judge Colin Burn said Wignall was so drunk and drugged up that he was unable to recall what he had done.

“The fact that you did not know what you were doing because you were out of your head is an aggravating feature,” he said.

Wignall was an engineer who travelled throughout the country repairing mobility aids for people.

He was “fully and thoroughly remorseful” with a strong sense of guilt and shame.

Wignall must sign on the sex offender register for ten years and the judge made a restraining order banning him from having any contact with his victim.