Sutton man jailed for sex offences against a child

From the courts
From the courts

A SUTTON man has been jailed for 10 years after being found guilty of 11 counts of raping or sexually touching a teenage girl.

Mark Sheldon (38), of Cornmill Road, was found guilty of all of the offences on Monday following a six day trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

The charges relate to repeated incidents of sexual touching and engaging in penetrative sexual activity with the girl over a four-year period.

She was aged just 14 when the abuse began.

Sentencing Sheldon immediately after the verdict, Judge James Sampson told him that the case had ‘all of the hallmarks, the elements, of abuse by an adult upon a child - manipulation, grooming, leading to full sexual intercourse.

“This was a gross breach of trust.”

During the trial, the court heard from the victim as well as her relatives and friends and the defendant himself.

The girl told how the abuse started when Sheldon began indecently touching her and developed to the point at which he took her virginity.

He would have unprotected sex with her and medical records showed that she asked her GP to be put on the contraceptive pill and had to take the morning after pill.

Sheldon would also send her many text messages and call her during school breaktimes.

Throughout the court case Sheldon, who had no previous criminal convictions, strenuously denied the charges and had told police that he felt like he was being ‘stitched up’.

He said that it made him ‘sick’ when he heard what he was being accused of and said it has ‘ruined’ what should have been a happy year for him, after he got engaged and with his new fiancee expecting a baby.

Sheldon admitted texting and phoning the girl but said the amount of times he was supposed to have done this ‘has been blown out of proportion’.

“She was understandably confused by your inappropriate approaches,” Judge Sampson said.

The jury of five women and seven men found Sheldon guilty of all 11 charges by a majority verdict of 10-2.

Judge Sampson sentenced him to a total of 10 years imprisonment and he will have to serve half this time before being considered for release.

He will be on the sex offenders’ register for life.