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Facebook inspired abuse victim to seek justice

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A VICTIM of sexual abuse finally came forward to police over a decade after the crime because she saw a friend was acquainted with her attacker on Facebook, the JEP has learned.

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Head bowed, 52-year-old David Gascoyne did not react as he was jailed for five years on Monday for sexually assaulting the girl, who was under the age of 16 at the time.

The Royal Court’s Superior Number, which convenes only for the most serious cases, heard that the teenage victim made a note of her abuse in a childhood diary in the days after it happened. She kept her trauma from the police until last year, when she saw Gascoyne was mutual friends with her friend on Facebook.

Gascoyne, a husband, admitted one count of indecent assault. However, it was heard that his victim was required to give evidence at a Newton hearing – at which the facts on which a defendant is sentenced are decided – as he initially admitted a much less serious version of events. His version was rejected.

Outside of court, Detective Constable Lidia Szejko said the entry in the diary ­– which the victim’s mother had kept safe in case her daughter ever wanted to press charges – was a key piece of evidence.

‘It was a godsend for us,’ she said. ‘The impact on her has been huge. She lost her innocence. She lost her trust. It has affected her whole life, her relationships. People might think it was just one incident but it proves the impact it can have on someone’s life.

‘I was not there when she gave evidence at the Newton hearing but I was told she was one of the most traumatised victims they have ever seen.’

Announcing the sentence, Deputy Bailiff Tim Le Cocq said: ‘The victim impact report by a clinical psychologist shows that the victim was seriously traumatised by this event. She suffers from concurrent and obtrusive flashbacks and during the Newton hearing was very distressed. It is clear she has suffered serious psychological harm.’

He added that Gascoyne’s offending was ‘opportunist’, ‘there is no evidence of grooming’ and it ‘appears to us to be totally out of character’.

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Outlining the case, Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit said the victim suffered severe post-traumatic stress disorder and would need serious psychological therapy to cope.

Explaining why she decided to tell the police of her abuse last year, DC Szejko said: ‘It was basically she found out that her friend had him on Facebook and, suddenly, she felt the need to protect her friend.’

Barbara Czaja, an independent sexual violence adviser, added: ‘She was just ready. It was her time. She wanted justice.’

DC Szejko added: ‘Even if you’re not ready for the police, we now have Dewberry House [the Island’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre] and they can help. And then, when you’re ready, we are here.’

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Advocate Sarah Dale, defending, said her client’s remorse was ‘very heartfelt’ and added that he had made admissions to his GP but did not hand himself in to the police because he thought the victim would not have wanted him to because she had not spoken out.

Gascoyne was put on the Sex Offenders Register for a minimum of five years.

Jurats Anthony Olsen, Rozanne Thomas, Pamela Pitman, Joanne Averty and David Hughes were also sitting.

Victims can contact the police on 612612 or call Dewberry House on 888222.

Jack Maguire

By Jack Maguire
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