Cumbrian paedophile who wanted to sexually assault girl, 9, wants jail term cut

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John Robert Newton
John Robert Newton

A predatory paedophile who wanted to sexually assault a nine-year-old girl he trapped in a public toilet is battling to have his jail term cut.

The schoolgirl targeted by 28-year-old John Robert Newton in Workington's Vulcan Park toilets in the summer of 2014 only escaped because she bravely fought back and screamed for help.

Newton, of Fisher Street, Workington, later admitted falsely imprisoning the girl with intent to commit a sexual offence.

A judge at Carlisle Crown Court jailed him for 12 years.

Because the judge ruled him to be a dangerous sex offender, he was told he will have to serve an extra eight years on licence after he is released.

Newton has now launched an appeal against his sentence, with his lawyers claiming it was too harsh.

At London's Court of Appeal, barrister Oliver Weetch said that his client had been sentenced as though he had actually committed the sex crime.

A 12-year prison term would have been appropriate if he had raped the child, but he had not and never intended to, he said.

The term which Newton is serving was "manifestly excessive", the barrister told the hearing yesterday.

After taking several minutes to consider the case, Lord Justice Hamblen said a decision on the appeal would come at a later date.

"It seems to us this was a difficult sentencing exercise and we propose to reserve judgment on the appeal," he said.

"It will be handed down in due course."

The original prosecution hearing heard how an innocent trip to Workington’s Vulcan’s Park with friends turned into a nightmare for the schoolgirl when Newton targeted her as she went to the public toilets on August 26, 2014.

He had been drinking in the morning, polishing off eight cans of lager by the time he went into the women’s toilets in the park at 5.30pm.

The unsuspecting schoolgirl had been inside a locked cubicle but she became aware of somebody in the next one along.

When she looked up, she saw Newton trying to pull himself up, and then a mobile phone apparently being used. The defendant smashed his way into her toilet cubicle, using such force that the lock fell off.

After searching her bag, Newton told the girl to undress.

She refused twice and he grabbed her, saying he would hit her if she screamed.

Hearing somebody coming in to the toilet area, the girl yelled for help, prompting Newton to hit her three times, twice as she lay on the floor.

Hearing that somebody else was in the toilet, the girl again screamed for help and Newton fled. Two days later he was picked out of an identity parade.

The defendant admitted false imprisonment with intent to commit a sexual offence, common assault and assault causing actual bodily harm. He also admitted voyeurism and two breaches of a sexual offences prevention order.

Describing the girl's ordeal, Judge Paul Batty QC - the judge at the time - said that it had been every parents' worst nightmare.

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