A YOUNG man who sexually assaulted a seven-year-old girl has been jailed for two years.
Neil Richard Turner, aged 21, of Kings Road, Dorchester, was convicted of two charges of sexual assault against the girl when he was found guilty by a jury last month.
He has since appeared at Dorchester Crown Court where he was handed a total prison sentence of two years for the offences that happened between December 31, 2009, and April 1 last year at the victim’s home near Dorchester.
After Turner’s conviction, police praised the victim, who is now eight, for her courage in speaking out.
Jurors during the trial heard evidence from the young girl who claimed she was in bed when Turner, who would have been 19 years old when the offences first occurred, came into her room and asked if she wanted to play a ‘dare game’.
She said he told her the dare was to kiss him on the lips and the defendant then approached her and began to kiss her.
The girl added that while this was going on Turner sexually touched her underneath her pyjamas.
Before sentence was passed, Francesca Da Costa representing Turner, said: “Mr Turner is a young man of previous good character.
“During the assaults there was no violent language or behaviour.
“With regards to the kisses, they were quick and there was no forcing his tongue on her.
“On the more serious count I would say that was on one occasion.
“Mr Turner has unfortunately suffered from a lack of education and he isn’t perhaps the brightest young man but he is willing to work.
“He is a young man who can hopefully put these matters behind him and build some sort of life for himself.”
Turner was automatically placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.
He was sentenced to four months for one of the charges and two years for the other but these will be served concurrently making a total of two years in prison.
Turner is also prohibited from being alone with a child aged under 16 unless an adult is present and, if it is a family member, then he must seek permission from the family member’s parent.
Judge Roger Jarvis told the defendant: “I have got to tell you Mr Turner that I am deeply worried about you.
“The young girl’s family thought they could trust you – sadly their trust was misplaced.
“Whilst they were out you took the opportunity to sexually assault this little girl of under seven years.
“This would be bewildering and deeply upsetting to her and who knows what impact that will have on her as she becomes older.
“It’s plain that all of this has had a very horrific effect on her family.”
He added: “The main thing I am worried about is that now you seem completely in denial.”