Beds, Herts & Bucks

Cambridgeshire gardener jailed for sex assault in Bedfordshire

A landscape gardener who sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl has been jailed for 20 months.

Vincent Middleton, 47, of The Broad Walk, Eynesbury, Cambridgeshire, denied the sex attack but was convicted after a trial before Bedford Magistrates.

He was sent to Luton Crown Court to be sentenced on Friday because of the seriousness of the offence.

The girl was sexually assaulted on 2 February in a Bedfordshire village where Middleton was then living.

Mark Nicholls, defending, said Middleton had been drunk when the offence happened.

'Devastating' impact

He said: "If he (Middleton) did do it, he is sorry and would apologise. There was nothing untoward in his behaviour towards her prior to this."

The court was told that he had been jailed 23 years ago for a previous sexual offence.

Judge Barbara Mensah said: "I have heard that the impact on your victim has been devastating. You have undermined her confidence.

"This was a nasty, prolonged offence, committed when you were drunk."

She also made an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning him from being alone with anyone aged under 18.

He must also register as a sex offender for 10 years.

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