February 2022

Axminster man convicted of child sex abuse

An Axminster man has been found guilty of abusing a three-year-old girl after the child became one of the youngest witnesses to give evidence at a criminal trial. 

The brave little girl was videotaped as she told the police about how Robert Grimshaw had come into her room in the middle of the night and touched her private parts. 

He had turned up at her parents’ home in Devon after an argument with his girlfriend and was meant to be spending the night in another room. 

The three-year-old used body maps to show specially trained police officers what he had done to her. 

She did not have to appear in person at Exeter Crown Court for Grimshaw’s trial because her cross examination was also recorded in advance and shown to the jury

Grimshaw, aged 29, of Foxhills, Axminster, denied two counts of sexual assault but was found guilty. He will be sentenced after probation reports are prepared. 

During the case, Mr Peter Coombe, prosecuting, said the assaults happened on the night of January 9, 2020, when Grimshaw turned up at the parents’ home in East Devon uninvited and was allowed to stay the night. 

The little girl woke her mother in the middle of the night to ask her to take off a Toy Story video which Grimshaw had put on as he touched her. She did not reveal the abuse at that stage. 

She told her mother the next day and then gave her video recorded interview to the police a few days later. She told them she no longer watches Toy Story because it reminds her of that night. 

Her parents gave evidence that she was so disturbed by the assault that they had to re-arrange her room before she could sleep in it again and that she set up trip wires to stop intruders getting to her bed. 

The girl’s pyjamas were sent for forensic examination and scientists found Grimshaw’s DNA on the inside. 

He claimed he had picked up the pyjamas when they were left outside her room and he denied carrying out any assaults. He was convicted unanimously. 

 Judge David Evans told him he had been convicted on overwhelming evidence and would be sentenced in March. 

 An updated report on how the girl is still being affected by the abuse will be prepared for that hearing. She has been unable to receive counselling pending the court case but it will start immediately.