April 2007

‘Slap on wrist’ for child sex attacker

A paedophile who sexually assaulted a nine-year-old girl has been jailed, five years after he was spared prison for abusing two young boys.

Kevin Toner, 20, picked out his target on a bus and enticed her and the boy she was with into a wood when they got off.

He then subjected the girl to a sickening attack, threatening to hurt the nine-yearold boy if she told anyone.

Unemployed Toner, from North Ormesby in Middlesbrough, denied the attack, but last month a jury found him guilty of sexual assault.

At Teesside Crown Court Recorder Jeremy Richardson described Toner as a “cunning and devious sexual predator” and ordered him to serve minimum of four years before being considered for parole.

Campaigners said the girl might have been spared her ordeal if Toner had been given a tougher sentence for sexually assaulting two boys, aged nine and ten, in 2002. He was given a six-month supervision order for this crime.

Michele Elliott, director of the children’s charity Kidscape, branded the initial sentence “outrageously soft”.

“This shows very clearly that sex offenders have a compulsive nature and are likely to reoffend,” she said.

“A six-month supervision order is nothing more than a slap on the wrist. It gives the impression that sexual assault is not really a crime and that it is acceptable to continue with this pattern of behaviour.”