August 2020

Paedophile sexually assaulted girl, 4, he was trusted to look after

A vile paedophile has been accused of “stealing the innocence” of a four-year-old girl after sexually assaulting her.

Andrew Proud, 49, met the mum through mutual acquaintances and they became good friends.

After almost four years of friendship, Proud, of Richmond Street, Bridlington, offered to look after her daughter and took her for days out while the mum worked on Saturdays.

The mum paid him £10-15 each time but she was unaware of his true motives.

At Hull Crown Court this week, Proud was sentenced for the sexual assault of a child under 13, three counts of downloading indecent images and one of possessing prohibitive images and film.

In a harrowing victim impact statement read out at court, the mum of the victim said: “My daughter still has a recollection of what happened that day and she has terrible nightmares and has to sleep in bed with me.

“He has stolen her innocence. A four-year-old should not even know about these things and I felt powerless to stop it.

“I feel embarrassed and humiliated that I let him look after my daughter. I thought about moving away but why should I uproot my child?

“This has been the longest 11 months of my life and I need to find some justice and closure. It will take a long time to get over this.

“I feel guilty and I’ve been blamed for what happened.”

Charlotte Baines, prosecuting, described how Proud began grooming the child in August and September last year.

She said: “He would look after the girl once or twice a month and she even stayed overnight on two occasions in 2019.

“On September 23 last year he took the girl to the beach. He rang the mum and asked if the girl could sleep over but the mum said no.

“She heard her daughter in the background saying she wanted to go home.

“The defendant said the girl had gone in the sea so her clothes were being dried.

“Later that evening the girl told her mum she had a secret but it was hers and Andrew’s secret.”

The girl went on to explain to her mum what had happened that day which appeared to be a sexual assault.

The mum confided in a friend and she decided to report the matter to the police.

The girl was interviewed by police during which she explained what had happened and said it made her feel angry.

Proud, a father himself, was arrested where he denied anything happened saying “it’s stupid, I would never do anything like that to a child”.

But forensic examination of the child’s underwear discovered saliva which matched Proud’s DNA.

Police then seized his computer and a digital examination uncovered a number of indecent images.

These included 27 category A images – the most serious, along with nine category B and 28 category C images.

There was also evidence he had accessed almost 1,000 other images and videos.

Proud was jailed for five years and three months for the sexual assault and a further 12 months consecutively for the offences of possessing indecent images.

He will be on the sex offenders’ register for life and can never have any unsupervised contact or access with a child again.