August 2022

Harrogate paedophile sentenced to 14 years

A Harrogate paedophile has been jailed for 14 years for the systematic sexual abuse of a young girl which a judge described as “unforgiveable”.

Neil Michael Stubbs, 27, was convicted of 13 separate offences following a four-day trial.

He appeared for sentence today (Monday, August 15) when York Crown Court heard harrowing testimonies from the victim.

During the trial in April, the jury heard that Stubbs, of Kingsley Park Road, groomed and sexually abused the youngster over a prolonged period.

They found him guilty of all 13 charges including one count of attempted rape of a child under 13, two counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, sexual assault, possessing indecent images and several counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Prosecutor Paul Newcombe said that some of the offences, including sexual assault and causing a child to engage in sexual activity, were “specimen counts”, meaning they happened on multiple occasions.

He said that Stubbs “pestered” her to send him naked photos of herself and on one occasion tried to rape the youngster, but she kicked him away. On another, he told her he had a “fantasy of having sex with a virgin” and warned her not to tell anybody about the abuse, and that she had to “take it to her grave”.

Following Stubbs’s arrest, police seized his mobile phone on which they found indecent images of children including some naked photos of the victim, who is from Harrogate but cannot be named for legal reasons. Some of the other images were rated Category A – the worst kind of such material.

Mr Newcombe said it showed that Stubbs had an “unhealthy obsession” with children.

In a statement read out in court, the victim said that Stubbs had “stripped” her of her childhood and she was now living with the dreadful consequences of his wicked actions.

“Since the sexual abuse my mental health has dramatically declined,” she added. “I’ve suffered from suicidal thoughts and have on two occasions attempted suicide.”

She had suffered from “severe social anxiety” and struggled to leave her house. She found it hard to make friends and trust people, particularly men.

She said that Stubbs had robbed her of her childhood innocence by putting her through “what I can only describe as “mental torture”.

Her mother, who has also received counselling since the offences came to light, said: “The impact this whole incident has had on my family as a whole is monumental.

“The worst thing in the world is knowing that (my daughter) will always suffer for the rest of her life.”

The judges said: “You repeatedly abused (the victim). You described to her the fantasy of having sex with a…virgin. That was your fantasy and it very nearly came about.”

Mr Morris said that both the girl and her mother had been utterly “traumatised” and blasted Stubbs for putting the victim through the ordeal of a trial when the evidence against him was “absolutely overwhelming”.

Jailing Stubbs for 14 years, the judge told him: “This is a sentence that you richly deserve. This girl attempted suicide twice and has had her life turned upside down by the abuse she suffered at your hands…and it is unforgiveable.”

Stubbs will serve half of that sentence behind bars before being released on parole, but the judge ordered that he would serve an extended one-year period on prison licence because he was an “offender of particular concern”.

Stubbs was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for life and slapped with a sexual-harm prevention order which will last for 20 years.