Fakenham man banned from working with children

A 57-year-old Fakenham man has been jailed for 12 months, put on the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years, and banned from working with children ever again.

A 57-year-old Fakenham man has been jailed for 12 months, put on the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years, and banned from working with children ever again.

Ernest Smith, of Clover Way, appeared for sentencing at Norwich Crown Court yesterday, after previously being found guilty at a retrial of indecently touching a 17-year-old girl after a party at his home on November 8 last year.

In sentencing him, Judge Simon Barham told Smith: “This was a sexual assault. Your son and his friends had organised a 56th birthday party for you on the weekend of November 7/8.

“A number of people slept over including this young girl who was sleeping on a mattress on the floor with her boyfriend.


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“The party ended at about 3.30am and at about 5.30am you got under the duvet alongside her and you sexually assaulted her.

“It's wholly inappropriate to suspend your sentence.”

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During the three-day trial the court had heard that the girl had felt fingertips indecently touching her and saw Smith lying beside her.

When she confronted him, the defendant claimed he did not know what she was talking about and stared at her, the court had heard.

Smith said he had ten or 11 lagers at the party, was very drunk and went to bed. Then he heard a gate banging and went down to shut it. He claimed he just remembered stumbling and putting his hand out to prevent himself from falling.

In mitigation, Tyrone Silcott said his client had expressed remorse in a letter.

Mr Silcott said: “The defendant cannot remember this incident, but he accepts that the girl would not have lied, and that if he did anything to hurt her he was sorry.

“This was a very brief incident and it was only seconds between the girl being aware of the defendant's hand and her moving it away.

“He has suffered a number of illnesses in the past including 10 operations to remove cancerous growths on his brain, arm, nose and ear, and suffered a heart attack last year.”

Judge Barham told Smith he would serve half his sentence and be on licence for the remainder.

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