April 2021

Scarborough man spared jail for sexually assaulting young girl

Peter Meakin

A Scarborough man who sexually assaulted a young girl and sent smutty text messages to another has been spared jail.

Peter Meakin’s wicked offences had had a “huge impact” on the victims, York Crown Court heard.

The 53-year-old appeared for sentence on Tuesday when a judge suspended his 12-month jail sentence.

Prosecutor Andrew Semple said that Meakin sent suggestive text messages to one of the girls in an attempt to seduce her.

When the girl told him she had been watching Youtube videos, Meakin told her: “I hope it’s not naughty videos LOL.”

“The defendant was asking her what she thought about sex,” said Mr Semple.

“She replied (that) she didn’t know. The defendant said, ‘Would you like to try? Up to you.’”

When the girl asked him what he meant by that, Meakin replied: “Getting closer and holding each other.”

Meakin then asked the girl: “Do you mind me fancying you at your age? Sorry, it’s just how I feel. Please keep it between us. I’m sorry. Please delete all your texts.”

Police were informed after the texts came to light but Meakin made vehement denials, telling officers: “I’m not a paedophile.”

He denied sending the texts, but his phone was seized which showed the messages between him and the girl, as well as “(internet) searches of a sexual nature” related to teenage girls.

He was bailed pending further enquiries, at which point more allegations came to light regarding a second girl.

The girl said she had been “grabbed sexually” by Meakin which had left her “very upset”.

Teachers at the girl’s school had noticed she had become “quiet and moody and (her) behaviour deteriorated”, whereas previously she had been a “happy” child.

She told police that after sexually assaulting her, Meakin asked her: “Do you like it?”

“She said it had happened more than once,” added Mr Semple.

“She said she couldn’t understand why the defendant was doing this to her.”

Meakin was questioned about the girl’s allegations but again denied any wrongdoing. He continued to plead his innocence until entering guilty pleas to three of five charges a few months before a trial was due to take place.

He admitted sexually assaulting a girl under 13 years of age, sexual activity with a child and engaging in sexual communication with another child. The offences occurred in 2019

Two other allegations of sexual assault were allowed to lie on the court file.

The girl who had been sexually assaulted said she had “struggled to cope” at school since being abused.

“I seem to get quite angry easily,” she added.

She had felt “worried and anxious” to the extent that she had sought counselling and help from a children’s charity.

“I’ve found it really hard to trust people and particularly men,” she said.

The court heard that both girls had “lost their confidence” and Meakin’s offences had had a “huge impact” on them, leaving them “angry and tearful”.

Judge Simon Hickey said that despite the seriousness of Meakin’s offences, which meant he “must present a risk” to children, there was potential for rehabilitation and he also noted the defendant’s poor state of health.

The 12-month prison sentence was suspended for two years and includes a 40-day rehabilitation programme.

Meakin was ordered to sign on the sex-offenders’ register for the next 10 years and made subject to a 10-year sexual-harm prevention order.