Devon

Child abuser Sam Prowse jailed for sex assaults on girl, 8

Sam Prowse Image copyright Devon and Cornwall police
Image caption Sam Prowse was jailed for abusing an eight year old girl

A child abuser has been jailed for six-and-a-half years for sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl for months.

Sam Prowse, 26, left the girl too frightened to tell her mother and the truth only came out when she saw him by chance at a railway station.

Prowse groomed the girl while babysitting her in Barnstaple, Exeter Crown Court heard.

Prowse had described the prosecution claims as "nuts" and said he hated paedophiles.

Exeter Crown Court heard his victim had changed from a "sweet, innocent child" into a girl who has problems relating to children her own age.

At a jury trial in June, Prowse, of Grebe Court, Bridgwater, Somerset, was found guilty of five counts of sexual assault.

Jailing him on Thursday, Judge Phillip Wassall said: "This girl was just eight and has suffered psychological harm as a result of which she is receiving counselling.

"This was a girl of very tender years who you groomed by buying presents to gain her trust. There was also an element of control."

Julia Bradbury, defending, said her client was a heavy user of cannabis at the time, which led to mental problems and treatment for psychosis.

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