September 2022

Oldham man sexually assaulted and groomed young girl, 7

An Oldham man has been sentenced after sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl after grooming her.

Gary Cook, of no fixed abode, was sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court on Friday, August 26 after he was found guilty of the offence on July 29 following a trial.

The court heard how on March 3, 2021, Cook, 37, removed part of the young girl’s clothing and sexually assaulted her.

She kicked him and expressed that she did not like what he had done, prompting him to get up and leave the room without saying a word.

The victim later told her parents what had happened, which left them astounded.

Mark Kellett, prosecuting, explained to the court how Cook had displayed grooming behaviour prior to the incident.

This grooming behaviour included the defendant installing an app on a device used by the girl so he could monitor her.

Recorder Prior QC said she was satisfied that Cook had used the app to groom his victim.

Defence counsel Vanessa Thomson said that despite the fact Cook had pleaded not guilty throughout the trial, he made an admission to the offence after being convicted, which she said showed “an element of remorse”.

At the sentencing, Mr Kellett read out a victim statement from the victim’s mother in which she said Cook had “taken my girl’s innocence away from her”.

She said he had “committed an unthinkable offence” against her daughter which had left the seven-year-old “often withdrawn, highly strung and emotional”.

When passing sentence, Recorder Prior said to Cook: “It is a pity you did not find the courage and did not save them the trauma by saving them from a trial.”

She said she was satisfied that Cook specifically targeted his victim.

She went on to praise the victim for having the courage to speak out to her family.

Cook was sentenced to five years, two-thirds of which he will serve in custody and the rest he will serve on licence.

As part of his sentence, Cook was given a restraining order of 10 years, preventing him from contacting or trying to contact the victim or any member of the victim’s family.

He also cannot contact any children under the age of 16 for 10 years or use any device capable of using the internet to contact children.