A young Rugby girl’s parents were horrified when she asked them to play ‘the tickling game’ before demonstrating the sexual assault performed by a primary school teaching assistant.
After one Warwick Crown Court jury was unable to agree on their verdict, a second jury found Thomas Brown guilty of sexually assaulting the five-year-old girl.
Appearing at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday (Monday, April 10), the 28-year-old TA, of Gunton Avenue, Coventry, was jailed for a total of three years and five months.
Judge Stephen Eyre QC, sentenced him to two years and nine months for sexually assaulting the little girl, and ordered him to register as a sex offender for life.
In addition, Brown, was given a consecutive eight-month sentence for downloading indecent images of children, which he had admitted.
Scott Coughtrie, prosecuting during the first of Brown’s two trials, told the jury: “This case is about a school teaching assistant who, while conducting his duties, was caring for five-year-olds.
“He approached one of them, a girl, and while no one was watching placed his hand down her trousers and began tickling her bum.”
It was alleged he had then penetrated her with his finger – but the jury in that first trial found him not guilty of assault by penetration, a more serious charge than sexual assault.
Mr Coughtrie said: “Such was her belief that this was perhaps normal behaviour that a few days later she asked her parents for ‘the tickling game.’
“Her parents asked her to demonstrate, and she then conducted a full demonstration to her mother of what had happened.”
“It is the prosecution case that Thomas Brown has sexually assaulted this girl for his own sexual gratification.”
The police were contacted, and the girl told a specially-trained officer what had happened during the incident.
Giving evidence, Brown agreed there was an incident when he had tickled the girl, but said he did so under her armpits, as he did with other children.
“I would play a game. I would chase after them and tickle them.”
Mr Coughtrie put to him that, as someone trained in child safety protection, he must have known he should not take a child in his arms other than to comfort them, but asked if he agreed what he was doing was inappropriate, Brown replied: “No I don’t.”
The prosecutor pointed out in his interview Brown had said there might have been an occasion when she had wriggled and he may have ‘accidentally’ touched her bottom.
Accepting he said that, Brown, who asserted he had not been into the girl’s classroom on that day, claimed: “I was trying to work out what could have happened, not what actually happened.”
“What I was trying to refer to was where she may have got the idea from, but it never happened.”
Although the first jury had been unable to agree, the jury in his second trial was satisfied it had happened.