January 2004

RAF man jailed for assaulting girl, 13

A Royal Air Force police officer’s career is in ruins after a judge jailed him for a year for indecently assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

Married father-of-two Damian Marshall started grooming the schoolgirl by sending her a text message in which he asked if she was a virgin.

A jury found him guilty of one offence of sexually abusing the girl but he was cleared on three further allegations of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child.

Sentencing him, Judge James Stewart QC criticised the 35-year-old for not owning up to what he had done.

“You knew what you were doing was wrong. Indeed it is referred to in one of the letters, but you didn’t have the courage to admit your guilt,” he told him.

“You ran this case to the wire causing this girl to give evidence and be cross-examined.”

Marshall had also discussed his sexual fantasies with her.

“You befriended this girl. You allowed her to confide in you about her personal problems. You visited her at school and you took her quite inappropriately to some local woods,” said Judge Stewart.

“The law is there to protect young women against themselves and against people like you.”

Marshall’s barrister Julia Nelson said he had been in the RAF since he was 17 and had an exemplary record.

She said Marshall, of Taunton Street, Shipley, also faced losing the home provided by the RAF and 18 years of pension rights.

Miss Nelson invited Judge Stewart to consider a non-custodial sentence which would involve Marshall being made the subject of sex offender programme. But Judge Stewart told Marshall: “Those in positions of trust must learn that if they act as predators on young girls they will be punished.”