Tyne & Wear

Rookhope photographer James Swan admits child sex assault

James Swan Image copyright Durham Police
Image caption James Swan was acquitted in 2009 of sexually assaulting a teenager

A photographer who was acquitted of sexually assaulting a teenage girl eight years ago has been jailed for carrying out similar attacks.

James Swan, 46, was cleared in December 2009 of a sex attack on the teenager at his home in Rookhope, County Durham.

But when two teenagers - one a girl of 13 - made similar complaints last year, the father of two was arrested.

He was jailed for five years at Teesside Crown Court for offences including sexual activity with a child.

The court heard after the fresh claims were made against Swan last year, thousands of "highly sexualised" messages to the 13-year-old were found his computer.

The court was told Swan had groomed the girl over several years and also attacked an 18-year-old, pinning her against a wall at the foot of his stairs while his wife was out.

Naked photos

The teenager believed she was going to be raped and the assault only stopped when his wife rang and left an answer phone message to say she was on her way back.

The court heard the 13-year-old was flattered by the attention from Swan, described by the prosecution as a "well-spoken, handsome man".

Richard Bennett, prosecuting, said: "The sexual grooming went on for month after month."

Swan also encouraged her to take naked photos of him, Mr Bennett said.

Swan admitted sexual assault, causing a sexual act without consent and two counts of sexual activity with a child. He was also placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Swan's barrister said he had left the family home and was unable to work as a photographer again.

Judge Stephen Ashurst said Swan's offending had had a profound effect on his victims, describing his behaviour towards the 13-year-old as "disgusting and inappropriate".

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