Sexual predator jailed again for sexually assaulting very young girl
A sexual predator has been jailed again for sexually assaulting a very young girl at a property in Harrogate.
Steven Anthony Jennings, 52, was already serving a 15-year jail sentence for similar offences against two other girls.
Now he’s been handed a further two years’ prison time for the new offences which pre-dated the old ones, but only came to light relatively recently when the victim went to police more than a decade after they occurred.
Daniel Penman, prosecuting at York Crown Court, said that Jennings, who was in his early 30s at the time, sexually assaulted the girl twice between 2005 and 2007.
The girl said she “froze” but such was her young age she didn’t think anything wrong had occurred at the time. She didn’t report the matters at the time and Jennings “got on with life as normal”.
Mr Penman added: “It took her until 2019 until she felt able to [tell] her partner about these offences and, through that, felt able to report this to police.”
Jennings, who was living in Harrogate before he was given the 15-year sentence at Teesside Crown Court in 2017, was questioned about the offences at Moorlands Prison in Doncaster in May last year when he was coming to the end of his existing jail term.
He initially denied the allegations but ultimately admitted two counts of sexually assaulting a child under 13 years of age. A third allegation was dropped by the prosecution and allowed to lie on court file.
He appeared for sentence today knowing a consecutive jail sentence was all but inevitable.
In a statement read out in court, the victim said Jennings’s “cruel” offences had affected her “mentally, physically and emotionally for years”.
She said her self-esteem and mental health were so badly affected that by her mid-teens she was “ready to die”.
She said she used to “cry myself to sleep every night” following the abuse and that she had “lost all innocence”.
Jennings was jailed in October 2017 for the offences against the two other girls, which occurred between about 2008 and 2011.
The sentence was imposed after Jennings admitting rape and sexual activity with a child in relation to one of the victims, and one count of indecent assault against the other girl.
The victims were two pre-teenage girls, who were abused by Jennings when he was in his mid-to-late 30s.
He sexually assaulted one of the girls outdoors while he was in a relationship with a woman, said Mr Penman.
Jennings plied the other victim with alcopops and played games “like truth or dare” with her. He ultimately raped the girl, who was too young to consent to sex, on “numerous occasions”.
Judge Simon Hickey said the sexual abuse of the new victim had had a “horrendous” effect on her and that her impact statement made for “sobering reading”.
He told Jennings: “She said that’s a burden she carried from a young age due to your selfish actions.”
Jennings was jailed for two years and placed on the sex-offenders’ register for a further 10 years.
He was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order, which will run for an indefinite period, to limit his contact with under-age girls. It also bans him from contacting any of the three victims.
Paedophile jailed for 15 years for “horrific” crimes
A PREDATORY paedophile who preyed on two young girls has been jailed for 15 years.
Steven Anthony Jennings, 46, targeted two girls for his sex crimes and has permanently affected their lives, York Crown Court heard
Jailing Jennings, the Honorary Recorder of York, Judge Paul Batty QC said he was a “manipulative and controlling figure” who had groomed the younger victim and had used blackmail and threats to make her keep silent during years of abuse.
“Everything that happened to her was absolutely appalling,” he said. “Eventually you got rid of her ….. because she had become too old for your sexual tastes.
“You left behind you human wreckage and you didn’t care.”
Speaking about Jennings’ evidence during a week-long trial he said the paedophile had shown he was a “monumental hypocrite” and that he had tried to blame a boy for his crimes.
“It is no wonder a York jury took only half an hour to convict you of the charges you faced,” he told Jennings.
“You have shown no remorse, not an ounce of remorse for what you have done to these victims.”
Jennings, of Northfield Mews, Wetherby, denied three charges of sexual activity with a child, one of rape and one of indecent assault.
In addition to the 15-year jail term, he was put on the sex offenders’ register for life and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order banning him from contacting girls under 16 or sleeping in the same house as any girl under 16 for life.
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