Teenager jailed for ten years for sex attacks on schoolboys

A teenager has been jailed for ten years for sex attacks on four schoolboys.

Thursday, 17th January 2019, 3:58 pm
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 12:37 am
Thomas Proudfoot

Thomas Proudfoot targeted his victims when he was aged just 16 and 17 and subjected them to shocking ordeals.The now 18-year-old, of Market Street, Seaham, was convicted by a jury of 14 sexual assaults on four children, all aged under 13, after a trial last year.One boy has been described as "not the same child as before" and it is feared all four victims could be "scarred for life" .Prosecutor Andrew Espley told Newcastle Crown Court Proudfoot used "friendliness as a device to gain their trust so he could abuse them."Mr Espley added: "We simply don't know how much harm this offending will have done to those four boys."We can't know that until they are fully grown adults and beyond."Proudfoot was sentenced to ten years behind bars and told he must sign the sex offenders register and abide by a sexual harm prevention order for life.He will be barred from working with children.Judge Penny Moreland told him: "What you did cannot be undone. The consequences, at this stage, cannot be anticipated."David Callan, defending, said the offences were "spontaneous" and unplanned and that Proudfoot has helped out charities in the past.Mr Callan added: "The main mitigation in this case is that the defendant was 16 when this offending started and was 17 during the rest of the offending.

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"He has not had the easiest starts in life and is of previous good character."He realises these are extremely serious offences."Mr Callan said Proudfoot is "immature" for his age.

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.