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Child sex menace is jailed for 18 months
9:36am Monday 10th September 2012 in Latest
A HOUSE in Poole became a “magnet” for schoolchildren buying cigarettes and drink before girls were sexually assaulted by the man living there.
Kevin Sherwood touched some girls, showed one a pornographic film and carried out a sexual act in front of another – his seven victims were aged between 13 and 15.
The 53-year-old father of four was warned by Poole council for selling items at his home but children kept visiting when he told them to stop using the front door at Trinidad Crescent in Parkstone and to use a gap in the fence at the back instead.
Sherwood has now been jailed for 18 months but parents of two of the girls told how the sentence should have been longer.
David Jenkins, prosecuting at Bournemouth Crown Court said: “A large amount of young teenagers, both boys and girls, visited his home to buy cheap cigarettes from him and some of the older ones bought alcohol.
“There’s a hint of cannabis too but there’s no charge for that.”
Sherwood admitted nine charges of sexual activity with a child and three counts of causing a child to watch a sexual act, between May and November 2011.
The children would visit in school uniform before, after and during school hours, the court heard.
In October 2011 Poole housing officials went to his house and warned him his tenancy was at risk if he continued to sell items, Mr Jenkins added.
He said: “They say he then told them not to come to the front door and instead were told to enter through the gap in the back fence.”
Mr Jenkins said Sherwood took a picture of a girl without her knowing and showed a pornographic picture and film.
He performed a sexual act in front of one girl and threw jelly beans down another girl’s top, asking if he could reach down to get them.
Mr Jenkins said when interviewed by police Sherwood said he was “a popular member of the community” who invited children around to “watch television and play on the computer”.
Robert Griffiths, in mitigation, said Sherwood was living alone and had got himself into “a dangerous set of circumstances of his own making”.
Judge Peter Johnson sentenced him to a total of 12 months for the sexual offences and a further six months as the offences breached a suspended sentence imposed for possession of cannabis with intent to supply in July 2010.
Sherwood must sign onto the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years and for that period he is barred from any contact with anyone under 16.
Parents told of assaults
PARENTS of two 13-year-old victims of Kevin Sherwood told the Daily Echo about the day their daughters came home from school to tell them about the sexual assaults.
“The only reason we found out is because my daughter had the confidence to say she had been smoking there,” said a mum.
“I went to the police station and said this bloke was selling cigarettes to children.
“And then my daughter told us how he had been inappropriate with another girl.” Both girls were taken to see police by their parents, who did not know exactly what had happened until they sat in court.
“Hearing my daughter’s name read out as a victim was just awful and she did not tell me a lot of what I’ve just heard,” added the mum.
One dad said he was “still stunned” about what had happened and had needed to be persuaded not to confront Sherwood himself.
“What makes it so bad is those children were not likely to speak up because their parents would have asked what they were doing there and they wouldn’t have wanted to say they were there buying cigarettes and alcohol,” he said.
“He should have been given a longer prison term.
“I think he’s got a light sentence.”
CLAUDE Knights, director of national child protection charity Kidscape, called for sentencing guidelines to provide for longer punishment.
She said: “This man made it very difficult for the youngsters to disclose what had happened because they were almost made to feel culpable.
“We would want the sentence to reflect the seriousness of the crimes and send out a strong message as the deterrent needs to be robust.”