January 2023

Darlington pervert jailed for sexually abusing young girl

A pervert who preyed on a young girl while she was asleep in bed has been locked up after the traumatised youngster plucked up the courage to tell the police.

Ben Collinson sexually assaulted the girl before warning her not to tell anyone about what he had done to her under torch light.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the abuse has left the victim suffering both mentally and physically after trying to deal with the trauma on her own.

In a victim impact statement, she told the judge how she was no scared to be outside on her own and the abuse had a lasting impact on her education and family life.

Fighting back tears she took the brave decision to confront her attacker as he was sentenced for abusing her around a decade ago.

She said: “The attack has not just had an impact on my mental health, it has also impacted on my physical health.

“When I think about what he did to me, it turns to anger and I tend to take it out on those close to me and that effects my relationships with family and friends.”

Richard Bennett, prosecuting, said Collinson carried out the sexual assault while he was holding a torch and told the girl he was ‘just checking that she was ok’ before telling her ‘not to tell anyone’.

The 44-year-old, of Newton Lane, Darlington, was found guilty of sexual assault on a child under 13 following a trial at the same court.

Judge Howard Crowson jailed Collinson for four years for the offence.

He said: “She didn’t tell anybody what happened to her for a number of years and during that time she seemed to show that nothing had ever happened to her until she finally told a friend what you had done to her.

“We now know how it affected her and how it continues to affect her life.”

The defendant was also ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life.