May 2020

Rapist who ruined children’s lives given shorter jail sentence

A married man who once raped a little boy and girl handed a short jail sentence

Jason Downey, 48, of Trent Close, Rainhill, molested three young children in Huyton in the 1980s, when he was aged 15.

He raped a boy who was three or four, raped a girl under the age of 10, and groped another girl under the age of 10.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Downey – now a dad-of-three – blamed his sick crimes on his absent parents.

Judge David Aubrey, QC, today said: “For many years, indeed decades, you held onto a dark secret.

“You’re not the only one who has kept these offences stored in the mind – so have your victims, who were such a tender age when you sexually abused them.”

Last year, the first girl told police Downey rubbed himself against her, made her touch and masturbate him, performed sex acts on her, then raped her.

John Wyn Williams, prosecuting, said she recalled him being “cruel” and once destroying her teddy bear.

The now adult woman was left feeling like sex was “nothing”, had difficulty forming sexual relationships, and believed the abuse was her fault.

The victim said she hated herself and her body, felt angry, and endured nightmares, during which she saw Downey’s face.

She said: “I hate Downey for what he did to me. He took away my childhood, my innocence and affected me for the rest of my life.”

The boy said Downey stripped him naked to play “a man and woman game”, made him perform a sex act on him, then raped him.

The now adult man said: “I’ve had to hide it away from people, keep it locked inside.

“It left me wondering if it was my fault. It’s caused much confusion and I struggle being around children.”

He said it stopped him taking roles where he would be close to children, in case people thought he was like Downey.

The man said it made him question his own sexuality and he still suffered “constant nightmares”.

The victim said: “This has had an effect on the relationship with my son, it’s always in the back of my mind, ‘don’t get too close, don’t hug too much’.

“I believed it was something within me. I now realise it wasn’t, I was a child.

“Even in primary school it affected me, I was lashing out at teachers, I couldn’t tell anyone and to the outside I just looked like a naughty kid.

“Downey has ruined my life, he ruined my childhood and exploited my vulnerability… even years later he has affected my day-to-day life.”

The second girl said Downey once rubbed her bottom but didn’t want to make a victim statement as she felt too embarrassed.

The woman said: “Having to talk about it is just awful, it’s really horrible.”

Downey confessed to police, said he was sorry and claimed he didn’t intend to hurt his victims, but “couldn’t help himself”.

He admitted nine counts of gross indecency with a child, two of which would be classified as rapes under the law today.

His past convictions include obtaining property by deception, theft and possessing cannabis in 1990.

Judge Aubrey said it was “an extremely difficult sentencing exercise”.

He said: “You took away from your three victims their childhood, happiness and innocence.”

The judge added: “You have scarred them all greatly and, in truth, given to them a life sentence.”

However, he said he had to take into account the fact Downey was just 15 at the time and the findings of a psychiatric report.

Judge Aubrey said: “You received little or no parental support, your parents were seldom home and it can be said you come from a dysfunctional family.

“The psychiatrist states that in consequence of that neglect, it is highly likely you would not have understood your actions as being wrong and detrimental to your victims.

“The court cannot accept that you had no understanding, to the extent that it would extinguish your culpability, but the court accepts that given your lack of development and guidance, it does reduce your culpability.

“But I’m satisfied you knew you were crossing the boundary for your own sexual gratification.”

Judge Aubrey said Downey had worked hard and raised a family since, without committing any further crimes.

He added: “The court accepts that you’re remorseful and you’ve expressed abhorrence at your wrongdoing.”

The judge said there must be “a substantial reduction” in the sentence to reflect Downey’s then age and immaturity.

He said under sentencing guidelines he also had to bear in mind that the maximum sentence at the time for a single count of gross indecency was 10 years, while for a 15-year-old the maximum would have been 12 months in youth custody.

He said he would have given him a sentence of six years in prison after a trial, but taking into account his guilty plea, this would be reduced to four and a half years.

Downey hung his head in shame and cried as Judge Aubrey told him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.