School teaching assistant guilty of sexual abuse of five-year-old in 'tickling game' - The Coventry Observer

School teaching assistant guilty of sexual abuse of five-year-old in 'tickling game'

Coventry Editorial 11th Apr, 2017 Updated: 11th Apr, 2017   0

A YOUNG girl’s parents were horrified when she asked them to play ‘the tickling game’ – and then demonstrated what a primary school teaching assistant had done to her.

And after one Warwick Crown Court jury had been unable to agree on their verdict, a second jury found teaching assistant Thomas Brown guilty of sexually assaulting the five-year-old girl.

Appearing at Birmingham Crown Court, where the judge who heard the trial is now sitting, Brown (28) of Gunton Avenue, Coventry, was jailed for a total of three years and five months.

Judge Stephen Eyre QC, sentenced him to two years and nine months for sexually assault and ordered him to register as a sex offender for life.

In addition, Brown, was given a consecutive eight-month sentence for downloading indecent images of children, which he had admitted.

Scott Coughtrie, prosecuting during the first of Brown’s two trials, told the jury: “This case is about a school teaching assistant who, while conducting his duties, was caring for five-year-olds.

“He approached one of them, a girl, and while no-one was watching placed his hand down her trousers and began tickling her bum.”

It was alleged he had then penetrated her with his finger – but the jury in that first trial found him not guilty of assault by penetration.

Mr Coughtrie said: “Such was her belief that this was perhaps normal behaviour that a few days later she asked her parents for ‘the tickling game.’

“Her parents asked her to demonstrate, and she then conducted a full demonstration to her mother of what had happened.”

The police were contacted, and the girl told a specially-trained officer what had happened during the incident.

During a video-recorded interview the girl, who described Brown as ‘one of my teachers,’ demonstrated: “He touched this part with his fingers. He touched this part of my skin, my bottom.”

Asked how many hands Brown had used, she rebuked: “Two, he hasn’t got any more.”

She was asked whether he had said anything to her, and replied: “He said ‘sorry’ to me, and he said ‘I will never do it again.’ Nothing happened next. He just walked away.”

Giving evidence, Brown agreed that there had been an incident when he had tickled the girl, but said he did so under her armpits, as he did with other children.

“I would play a game. I would chase after them and tickle them.”

Mr Coughtrie put to him that, as someone trained in child safety protection, he must have known he should not take a child in his arms other than to comfort them, but asked if he agreed what he was doing was inappropriate, Brown replied: “No I don’t.”

The prosecutor pointed out that in his interview Brown had said there might have been an occasion when she had wriggled and he may have ‘accidentally’ touched her bottom.

Accepting he said that, Brown, who asserted he had not been into the girl’s classroom on that day, claimed: “I was trying to work out what could have happened, not what actually happened.

“What I was trying to refer to was where she may have got the idea from, but it never happened.”

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Brown had a responsibility to nurture and protect the pupils left in his care. Instead he violated those privileges by sexually abusing a child who would have looked up to, and trusted him.

“Brown has rightly been brought to justice for his appalling behaviour and we now hope his young victim gets any support she might need to recover.”

“It is vital anyone concerned about a child speaks out, as it could save them from harm. They can contact the NSPCC helpline in confidence on 0808 800 5000 or [email protected], while children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or via”

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