A mum’s four-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted by a friend she’d trusted to babysit her.
The woman met Andrew Proud, 49, from Bridlington in Yorkshire, through mutual friends.
Having known each other for three years, Proud offered to look after the little girl and took her on days out as the mum – who has not been identified – worked on Saturdays.
Proud began grooming the child in August last year and she even stayed at his house on two occasions, Hull Live reports.
Charlotte Baines, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court: “On September 23 last year he took the girl to the beach. He rang the mum and asked if the girl could sleep over but the mum said no.
“She heard her daughter in the background saying she wanted to go home.
“The defendant said the girl had gone in the sea so her clothes were being dried.
“Later that evening the girl told her mum she had a secret but it was hers and Andrew’s secret.”
The girl then told her mum what had happened, describing an incident that sounded like sexual assault.
She reported it to police and Proud, a dad himself, was arrested.
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Forensic examination of the child’s underwear discovered saliva which matched his DNA.
Police then seized Proud’s computer and a digital examination uncovered a number of indecent images.
These included 27 category A images – the most serious, along with nine category B and 28 category C images.
Proud was jailed for five years and three months this week for the sexual assault and a further 12 months consecutively for the offences of possessing indecent images.
He will be on the sex offenders’ register for life and can never have any contact with a child again.
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The mum said in a victim impact statement: “My daughter still has a recollection of what happened that day and she has terrible nightmares and has to sleep in bed with me.
“He has stolen her innocence. A four-year-old should not even know about these things and I felt powerless to stop it.
“I feel embarrassed and humiliated that I let him look after my daughter. I thought about moving away but why should I uproot my child?
“This has been the longest 11 months of my life and I need to find some justice and closure. It will take a long time to get over this.
“I feel guilty and I’ve been blamed for what happened.”
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She has since criticised the sentence handed down.
The mum told Hull Live: “You cannot tell me he can be rehabilitated with a bit of paperwork and some counselling. He is not going to change.
“As a taxpayer it annoys me that I’m paying for his food in there. As for the 12-month sentence for possessing the images, that is just a slap on the wrist.”
She also described how the pair met and the pity she felt for Proud.
The mum added: “I have known him for three and a half years after getting to know him through mutual friends.
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“He seemed lonely and I felt sorry for him and he was unable to work for medical reasons.
“When I got offered to work on Saturdays Andrew would look after my daughter for a couple of hours.
“I had known him for around three years by this point and I paid him £10-15. But he would often spend the money on my daughter anyway at the arcades and with sweets.
“I felt sorry for him and wanted to help him put food on the table. To me, he was a normal person who had lost everything and I wanted to help.
“The only time my daughter stayed over with him was at a barbecue with other people and children who also stayed over.”
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