July 2004

Ex-councillor jailed for sex attack

A former councillor who indecently assaulted an eight-year-old girl has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

David Mills, 55, preyed on the child, now aged 16, as she played in her bedroom when he babysat.

Recorder Jeff Blackett said the fact Mills, who forced his victim to give evidence in court, still denied it meant there was a chance he might attack again.

Sentencing Mills at Chichester Crown Court yesterday, Recorder Blackett said: “This was a disgusting and disgraceful thing to do. It had a devastating effect on the victim, which is an important consideration that has been troubling me.

“You have caused significant emotional trauma to her. By pleading not guilty, you forced her to relive what you did to her.

“I’m concerned you have not faced up to what you have done. Given the opportunity, there is a risk you would reoffend.”

Mills, who was also banned from working with children for life and ordered to sign the sex offenders register, was convicted at Chichester Crown Court last month for indecent assault between 1996 and 1997.

His victim and her family cheered in the court yesterday when they heard Mills, a former Findon parish councillor now living in Bideford, Devon, would be sent to prison.

Outside the court, his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “I was hoping for a bit more than 30 months.

“It’s infuriating – the fact he’s still denying it and that his wife is still standing by him even though he’s been found guilty.

“Justice has been done but I wanted him to be punished a lot more after what he put me through with thetrial.

“I did not cope with it. It was extremely unpleasant. When I first turned up at court, I had to walk straight past him and I did not want to be anywhere near him.

“This is a chapter I can close in my life.”

The court previously heard Mills had fondled the girl’s body and prompted her to touch his buttocks.

James Leonard, defending, said the conviction would be a major blow to Mills and he should be spared a custodial sentence.

Mr Leonard said: “The offence was at the lowest end of the scale in terms of the type of contact, though I do not ignore the age of the victim.

“There was no penetration, no mutual contact, no exposure of himself or other perversions. There have been no other improprieties with any other child in his life before the court. There was no violence or threats.

“He has no previous convictions and was a man of impeccable character. The trust placed on him over the years speaks volumes.

“He has had a hard life with his first wife leaving him with four children in the Sixties. His mother was helping them but she died in 1977, his girlfriend was killed in a car crash in 1978 and his daughter Helen died from meningitis in 1983.

“He is a loving caring friend to a great number of people.”