June 2022

Paedophile left young victim suffering “night terrors”

A paedophile left his young victim suffering “night terrors” of a man at the end of her bed after he sexually assaulted twice.

Stephen Jennings, 39, of The Glen, Runcorn, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Friday for sentence after three guilty pleas to possessing indecent images and conviction at trial over the two assaults.

Philip Clemo, prosecuting, said Jennings initially groped and molested his victim over clothes.

When she asked him to stop, “he refused” and assaulted her again. The abuse came to light when the child’s mother heard her using “inappropriate language”, and she then said what had happened.

It was reported to the victim’s school. In voluntary interview with Cheshire Police, Jennings denied what took place and any “sexual interest in children”.

That lie was left in tatters when a search of his two phones revealed Category A abuse images – the most serious type and including one of a girl of about 10 years of age “in distress” being raped, and several hundred more in Category B and C.

The court heard that at trial an adult witness gave evidence that while having sex with Jennings, he had called her “my good little 12-year-old girl” and she told him “don’t say that”.

An impact statement from his young victim’s mother said the little girl suffered psychological symptoms of abuse including “night terrors worrying about a man being at the end of the bed”.

Mr Clemo said features of the case showing higher levels of harm included the girl’s “extreme youth” and her vulnerability.

Jennings had no previous convictions and most recently lived with his parents on The Glen, Runcorn..

Recorder Mark Ford sentenced Jennings to four years in prison, and placed him on a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and the sex offenders register, both for life or until further notice.

Sending Jennings down, Recorder Ford said: “It was clear to me from her evidence that she didn’t want you to touch her in this way and that her complaints to you didn’t prevent you from continuing.

“Despite the clarity with which (your victim) expressed herself, despite her young age, you maintained your denial of the conduct as was your right but the explanations you set out to provide rather unravelled during cross examination and the jury duly convicted you”