April 2023

Nursery worker jailed for sexually assaulting girl

A nursery deputy manager has been jailed for sexually assaulting a young girl and accessing child abuse images while on police bail.

Christopher Downes, 31, worked at a nursery in Cambridge where he was responsible for child protection.

But judge Philip Grey told Cambridge Crown Court that Downes was a “devious, manipulative and dangerous paedophile”.

Downes, of Dry Drayton, was jailed for five years, with an extended period of three years on license.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault of a child under 13, one of taking an indecent image of a child and three of making an indecent images of children.

The court heard Downes was also a scout leader and the co-founder of a business offering first aid at family and local events.

Judge Grey said in the context of his responsibilities the fact Downes was a paedophile was “extremely troubling”.

He said after Downes was arrested a number of items were seized and on one of those devices he had indecent images of the girl.

The judge said of one of the photos: “Knowing what your motivations were, it is stomach churning.”

In police interview Downes gave a prepared statement denying any wrongdoing and answered no comment to all questions thereafter.

He was granted bail and during that time Judge Grey said the defendant accessed the dark web and obtained or produced 41 illegal images.

Judge Grey said Downes had “carefully” used knowledge gained as a childcare professional and told him “you would pose an extreme danger to any young girl you were allowed to spend time with”.