Feb 2011

Young runaway’s abuser sent to jail

A NEWPORT man who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old runaway is beginning an 18-month prison sentence.

James Burch, 21, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against a boy in September 2007, following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court last December. Burch, of Ringland Centre, was found not guilty of three counts of rape of a child under 13 and five counts of inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

During the four-day trial, jury members heard the young boy ran away from home, where he was being physically and emotionally abused, and was told he could stay with Burch.

On the second day of his stay the boy said Burch handed him a note which read “you can only stay here if you let me do things to you and let me touch you.”

The boy said after he read that note, he was abused but he did not tell anyone what had happened because he was too scared.

He reported the alleged attacks in January 2009 when he was settled in with a new foster family.

Burch denied having any sexual contact with the boy and said the boy made up the claims as he had told police where the runaway was staying.

The court heard Burch still denies the incidents took place and has refused to undergo any work to prevent him committing further offences.

Sentencing him at Cardiff Crown Court, Judge William Gaskell said Burch had suffered a “wretched” childhood and he himself had been a victim in the past.

He said: “In light of what you experienced, you would have had some understanding of what effect what you were doing would have on this boy, but clearly you didn’t.”

Burch was sentenced to 18 months for each of the counts, to run concurrently, and was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order for five years.