Woman speaks of devastating impact of sexual assault

A woman has told of the devastating impact of being sexually assaulted as a child.

Durham Crown Court
Durham Crown Court

The victim of Jonathan Bestford said she still has trouble sleeping years after being groped by him.

In a victim personal statement read to Durham Crown Court, the woman said: “I still wake up a lot during the night, it’s not nightmares, but I do dream of what happened and wake up thinking about it.

“I have panic attacks, and am uncomfortable about being around men and cannot be alone with them.

“I’m anxious and worried about going out.

“What happened has made me feel ashamed, as if I’ve done something wrong.”

Bestford, 28, of Quantock Place, Peterlee, admitted sexual assault.

The court heard he rubbed his victim on her inner thigh, but pleaded guilty on the basis he had not touched her private parts.

Jane Waugh, defending, said in mitigation: “There has been no further offending in the years since this offence.

“Mr Bestford has a good job, a good salary, and a house, all of which he could lose if he goes to custody.

“Probation say they would welcome the opportunity to work with him, assessing him as low to medium risk of further offending.”

Judge Simon Hickey sentenced Bestford to six months in prison, suspended for two years, with a condition he take part in a sex offender treatment programme.

The judge told him: “The sentencing guidelines for this offence suggest a year in prison, and you would be entitled to a discount for pleading guilty.

“If I locked you up today, you would be released after a relatively short time with very little supervision.

“The sentence I have passed means someone will be keeping an eye on you.

“Breach any terms of the sentence and we will meet again, when you know what will happen.”

Bestford must register as a sex offender for seven years.