April 2006

Pervert gained job near primary school

A PAEDOPHILE sexually assaulted a girl after he was employed as a security guard yards from a primary school.

The girl’s parents last night called for an inquiry into how Norman Winthrop landed the post, where he was able to prey on their seven-year-old daughter.

Winthrop, 62, was given the job despite being on the sex offenders’ register for life.

The court heard he had previously been sentenced to a total of 15 years for sex attacks on three other children, and was jailed for six months for his fourth attack.

The girl’s mother, from Sunderland, said: “The sentence is almost as unbelievable as the fact he got the job in the first place.

“He used it as a chance to befriend the children as they came home and eventually put my little girl through this ordeal.

“There must be an inquiry into how he was given this job and I want assurances that he will never work anywhere near children again.

“He is clearly a danger to children and I pray no other child suffers as a result of him slipping through the net.”

Newcastle Crown Court heard last week how Winthrop, who was released from his last prison sentence in 1999, was working on a building site in Sunderland early last year.

One cold night, he tried to get the girl to touch his groin by asking her to help with his zip because his hands were too cold to pull it up himself.

The court heard how the youngster went to help, then ran away when he was not looking.

Winthrop, of Bishop Crescent, Jarrow, South Tyneside, admitted causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

He was jailed for three years in 1989 for four charges of indecent assault on a girl under 14.

In 1994, he received a nine-year sentence for similar offences. In 1998, he was jailed for three years, to run alongside his 1994 sentence, after he confesssed to an attack on a young boy in the 1970s.

Bob Spragg, in mitigation, said Winthrop, who was accompanied in court by his fiancee, has been a regular churchgoer since his last release from jail.

Mr Spragg said: “He has essentially managed to keep a lid on his behaviour for the past six years but it has not gone away completely.”

Withrop was working for Britannia Security, based in Newcastle, at the time of the offence. A company spokesman said: “We vet all our employees very carefully to the standards laid down by the Security Industry Authority.

“In this man’s case, he was taken on by a firm who we bought out in August, and their staff came over to us. This would not have happened under our own vetting procedure.”