Former Staithes man locked up after sexually assaulting two young girls

A 37-year-old man has been jailed for two years for sexually assaulting two young girls.

By Court Reporter
Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 11:50 am
Gabriel Barnham
Gabriel Barnham

Gabriel Barnham, who was living in Staithes at the time of the offences, appeared for sentence at York Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual assaulting a child under 13 years of age.

Prosecutor Paul Reid said that Barnham, had terrified the girls who were very young at the time of the offences.

One of the girls was “hysterical” following the attacks in which Barnham had been “talking weird” to them.

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She was now a “broken little girl suffering nightmares”.

Mr Reid said the two girls were “shaking and nearly crying” during their ordeal.

Following his arrest in February last year, Barnham claimed the allegations were “ridiculous” and insisted he had not sexually assaulted the girls nor made any sexual comments.

He initially denied two counts of sexual assault but ultimately admitted the offences after the case had been set down for trial.

A probation report stated that Barnham presented a “high risk to pre-pubescent children”.

Annelise Haugstad, for Barnham, said the sex attacks were “impulsive” and had occurred at a time when her client was drinking heavily and had “mental” issues including long-standing depression and a “lower-than-average” intellect.

Barnham, who had never been in trouble before, felt “shame and disgust” at his actions and was genuinely remorseful.

Ms Haugstad added that Barnham, an agency kitchen worker, didn’t ordinarily have a “sexual preference for children”.

“He said he was appalled at what the (young victims) had gone through and what they have experienced,” she said.

Barnham, now of Victoria Stable Yard, Richmond, had since been going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings because he “recognised that alcohol played no small part in (the sexual offences)”.

Mr Recorder Preston said he had noted that Barnham had “leered” at one of the girls and repeatedly tried to kiss her, making her “frightened and nervous”, before sexually assaulting her.

He told Barnham: “I’m told you are genuinely remorseful about what you did, but I find that hard to believe given the lateness of your pleas and you told (a probation officer) that you don’t remember doing it.

“You took the opportunity to sexually abuse two young children.

"(One of the victims) is now described as a broken little girl suffering nightmares.

“You caused untold damage to at least (one of the girls) that might affect her forever."

Barnham was jailed for 25 months, of which he will serve half behind bars before being released on licence.

He was also put on the sex-offenders’ register and made subject to a 10-year sexual-harm prevention order to limit his contact with children.

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