March 2012

Sexual assault on drunken girl, 14

A MAN was jailed yesterday for what a judge described as an “outrageous” sexual assault on a drunken schoolgirl.

The 14-year-old victim had been drinking with friends before going to a birthday party at a restaurant in Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, last summer.

Staff at Joe Rigatoni’s refused to let the girl in because of her state, and she was forced to wait for her friends outside while they ate.

Carl Thompson wandered past and sat next to the youngster – soaked from the rain and without shoes – before giving her a cuddle and trying to kiss her.

Door staff from a nearby bar intervened when they saw 34-year-old Thompson put his hand up the girl’s dress and indecently assault her, the court heard.

Thompson, of Mayfair Avenue, Middlesbrough, denied a charge of sexual assault, but was found guilty by aTeesside Crown Court jury yesterday.

Judge Peter Armstrong jailed him for 18 months after telling him: “You have been convicted on clear evidence of an outrageous offence.”

Thompson initially denied being at the scene on August 23 – even when he was picked out of an identification parade by two doormen.

He told police after his arrest later that night: “It’s wrong, it wasn’t me. I would not touch someone like that – I wouldn’t dare.”

Before the trial started this week, he produced a defence statement in which he said the contact was consensual and insisted the girl was happy to kiss him.

Joseph Spencer, prosecuting, said: “The Crown’s case is there was no consent and he took advantage of a young girl in a drunken state.”

Thompson – who has a host of previous convictions but none for sexual matters – was also ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.

Robert Mochrie, mitigating, told Judge Armstrong: “Mitigation is limited because he is a man convicted after a trial.

“This is not a sexual predator, per say. This is an offence, Your Honour might think, that happened on the spur of the moment.

“The opportunity was there, and it is not the case that he went out looking for young girls to abuse, which is often the case.”