Sunderland ex-soldier jailed for sexually assaulting schoolgirl
A former Sunderland soldier who served in IraqÂ has been jailed after sexuallyÂ assaulting a child.
Philip Thompson kissed and inappropriately touched the young girl, despite her trying to move his hand away.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how the 35-year-old was under the influence of drink and drugs when he committed the crime.
Paul Currer, prosecuting, said the girl told nobody about the incident until she was sitting alone with her mother one night.
Mr Currer said: "She was unable to tell her mother what he had done. She asked to use her phone to type out what had happened."
The court heard how the victim was so concerned about what had happened, she told some of her school friends.
They reported what she had said to a member of staff, who spoke to her about the assault.
When arrested, Thompson said he had no memory of what happened and he would not sexually assault her.
Mr Currer said: "She's been distressed by it and it's caused problems with her school and personal life."
Thompson, of Eldon Street, in the Chester Road area of Sunderland, admitted sexual assault of a female child under 13.
His defence barrister told the court there was medical evidence to confirm Thompson suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from his Army service in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq.
The court also heard there was a theme of alcohol with his offending, he had withdrawn from using it and had noticed the dangerous effects it has on him and his behaviour.
Judge Tim Gittins told Thompson the assault had a traumatic effect on the victim which hopefully she is young enough to put behind her.
Judge Gittins said: "You were so affected by alcohol and drugs at the time you had no recollection of how you abused such a young girl in that incident.
"Bingeing on drink and drugs, in my view that's what has brought out a side to you. She was too frightened by what reaction to raise it until she became distressed.
"You made a denial of assault, but accepted it's unlikely that she would have lied about such matters and you couldn't recall what had happened.
"You served your country and that service has had a recognised effect on your mental health, which in my judgement has some connection with you having committed this crime."
Judge Gittins sentenced Thompson to three years and six months in prison and ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders' Register.