May 2021

Paedophile groped teen’s breasts and claimed to be looking for ‘lumps’

A paedophile that groped and molested a schoolgirl’s breasts and claimed to be looking for cancerous lumps has been jailed.

Thomas McCarthy also sexually assaulted the 14-year-old girl on a second occasion but she objected then gave evidence against him in a trial.

Sentencing, Judge Mushtaq Khokhar said: “I have no doubt in my mind that had she not been brave enough to call out, it would have continued.”

Leeds Crown Court heard how the child was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the two assaults in December 2018.

The 54-year-old, of The Crescent, Tingley, Wakefield, was jailed for two years and eight months today (Wednesday) after being convicted last month of two counts of sexual assault.

Prosecutor Richard Walters described McCarthy’s behaviour as opportunistic rather than grooming.

On the first occasion, McCarthy undid the girl’s bra then touched her breasts, using the excuse that he was looking for lumps.

He later told her a story about a man who was wrongly jailed after a 16-year-old had sex with him then claimed to be underage when it happened.

On the second occasion, he undid her bra, looked into the victim’s eyes and kissed her. He was about to kiss her for a second time when she objected.

McCarthy stopped and became apologetic before texting her promising not to do it again.

In a statement, the victim described suffering with sleep problems, such as nightmares and being afraid to sleep, and having arguments with people due to ‘always being emotional, snappy and feeling angry with life’.

She said she found it hard to find a reason to get out of bed, broke down randomly in classes and did not want to meet new people.

The teenager said she has attended counselling and was diagnosed with PTSD.

The defendant’s last conviction was in the 1980s for a dissimilar offence so the judge treated the defendant as a person of previous good character.