Jail for sick paedophile

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A PERVERT from Wigan has been locked up after subjecting a schoolgirl to years of sexual abuse and possessing indecent images of children.

Stephen Cornfoot, 53, was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Liverpool Crown Court after being found guilty of seven counts of sexual assault and sexual activity with a girl under 13 following a trial in March.

Cornfoot, of Castle Hill Road, Hindley, had abused the girl from 2006 to 2008, when she was aged between 10 and 13.

Judge Mark Brown said he was certain Cornfoot had “gained enormous sexual gratification” from abusing the youngster.

He said: “In my judgment, you have a very unhealthy, criminal interest in young people and you are potentially a very dangerous person.”

In November 2008, police acted on information they had received about a man possessing indecent images and raided Cornfoot’s home.

Officers found that he had been using paedophile websites and downloading images.

In October 2010, he was found guilty of 17 counts of making and possessing indecent images of children, and jailed for six months in December of that year.

While he was awaiting sentence for that conviction, a couple who knew Cornfoot were discussing his conviction with their daughter, and she told them that he had abused her when she was younger. She told how Cornfoot would give her a lift to sports practice, and kiss her while they were in the car.

She also visited his home, where he had sexually assaulted her on a number of occasions.

Judge Brown said he was satisfied Cornfoot had not only groomed his vulnerable victim, but threatened her that something would happen to her or her family if she revealed his abuse.

Following the girl’s revelations, police arrested Cornfoot and searched his home, finding two mobile phones containing indecent images of children.

The images ranged from level one to level five – with five being the most extreme.

Judge Brown watched the footage in court and branded it “horrendous”.

Cornfoot was sentenced to three years for abusing the girl, and six months, to run consecutively, for possessing indecent images of children.

He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life, and given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

Detective Constable Amanda Goulding, based at the Public Protection Investigation Unit (PPIU) at Leigh Police Station, said: “Rather than admit his wrongdoing, he put his victim and her family through the worrying and daunting prospect of a trial.

“However, Cornfoot has been given what he deserves not only as justice for the abuse of this girl, but for the other children who were abused to make the photographs he downloaded.

“This case proves the importance of dealing with people who look at indecent images of children on the internet – not only have children been abused in the process of making such images, but the people looking at them might also be involved in abuse that has not yet been discovered.”

l Anyone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault can contact Greater Manchester Police (GMP) on 0161 872 5050 or 999 in an emergency.

GMP has specially trained officers in place to provide a first class response to victims and help support them through the criminal justice process.

St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester, can also be contacted on 0161 276 6515.

This provides a comprehensive and coordinated forensic, counselling and medical aftercare service to anyone in Greater Manchester who has experienced rape or sexual assault.

Services are available on a 24-hour basis and people can access them either as a self-referral or via Greater Manchester Police.