June 2011

Prison governor, 49, jailed after being found guilty of sexually touching an underage girl

A prison governor convicted of child sex offences has been jailed for four years.

Branded an ‘arrogant, overbearing man’, Barry Cummings, 49,  of Bearpark, Durham, lost his home, his family and his employment at the all-female Low Newton Prison, Durham, after he was convicted by a jury last month.

He was found guilty on three counts of sexually touching a girl under the age of 13.

The events took place some years ago and the girl told her mother what had happened some time later, and the police then began launched an investigation.

Cummings was suspended from his wing governor role by prison authorities pending the outcome of the trial, and was sacked after he was convicted.

Judge Christopher Prince, sentencing at Durham Crown Court, said: ‘Throughout the pre-sentence report you have continued to deny your guilt for these offences in the face of the overwhelming evidence that was presented at trial.’

Divorced Cummings was an intelligent man with a law degree, the judge said.

‘You have struck me as being a strikingly arrogant, overbearing man with a very forceful personality,’ the judge said.

The girl’s mother said in a victim impact statement that Cummings still features in the child’s dreams as an ‘ogre’.

The girl wrote to the judge, after Cummings was remanded in custody last month, to say: ‘I know he is in prison but I still don’t feel safe.

‘I hope he goes to prison and doesn’t do it to anyone else.’

Cummings had claimed the child was making it up.

Judge Prince said: ‘The jury saw through your lies in finding you guilty.’

The judge paid tribute to the child who has ‘proved herself to be such a courageous young girl’.

Paul Abrahams, defending, said jail for an ex-prison governor convicted of child sex offences would be tough.

He said: ‘It may quite readily be said it’s his own fault that he is in the position he is.

‘He has lost his employment, lost his house, lost his family.

‘His past employment and the nature of the offences he now stands to be sentenced for mean the impact upon him is far greater than most people who are sent to custody from the crown court.”

Cummings was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and made subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order indefinitely.