August 2017

Sofa surfer who stole ‘sparkle’ from boy when he abused him is jailed

A sofa surfer has been jailed for sexually abusing a young boy while staying at a friend’s house.

John Norman was homeless when the boy’s family took pity on him but he abused their trust by sneaking into the boy’s bedroom and abusing him.

He was jailed after a Judge told him he caused the child to ‘lose his sparkle’ as the boy struggled to cope with the confusion and embarrassment.

He stayed silent for years before telling his parents, who consulted an NSPCC helpline before deciding to contact the police.

The NSPCC have welcomed the conviction and sentence, which they say highlights the value of their work.

Norman, aged 39, of Esplanade Road, Paignton, denied sexual assault of a child under 13 but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.

He was jailed for three years by Judge Graham Cottle, who ordered him to sign on the sex offenders’ register for life and imposed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which restricts his future contact with children.

He told him:”Having seen the boy giving evidence, it is perfectly obvious that he was an entirely truthful boy who wrestled with what happened and simply did not understand it at the time or know what to do subsequently.

“As is often the case with young children, he was confused, embarrassed and simply did not know how to respond to an incident involving the touching of his private parts.

“He had no idea what was going on or why it was happening. There is a degree of abuse of trust because you had been allowed to stay at the house.

“The consequences for the boy have been very significant. He was an outgoing child but is said by his mother to have lost his sparkle after this incident.”

The child, now aged 15, told the jury that Norman had woken him up by nudging him, and then put his hand and his head under the covers. He thought he had been drinking before the assault.

The boy did not tell anyone about what had happened until he was almost 14, when he told first his mother and then his father.

His family called an NSPCC helpline anonymously for advice and then went to the police, Exeter Crown Court was told.