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DJ who charmed vulnerable youngsters jailed for rape and sexual assault

UK News | Published:

Mark McCormick admitted several offences at Southampton Crown Court.

A former parish council chairman and DJ who used his “charming and cool” personality to manipulate vulnerable youngsters who he sexually abused has been jailed for 17 years.

Mark McCormick pleaded guilty at Southampton Crown Court to the rape of a 16-year-old girl and 11 charges of sexual abuse against five teenage boys, a count of taking an indecent photo of a child, and a further count of sexual assault of a young adult man.

As well as the prison sentence, the 49-year-old, who showed no emotion as he was sentenced, was ordered to sign on the sex offenders register for life and was made subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

Sentencing the former chairman of Bursledon Parish Council, Judge Nicholas Rowland said: “You controlled and manipulated your victims, no doubt they were excited by the idea of being with someone who was leading a rather glamorous lifestyle, in direct contrast to their own lifestyles.”

Fern Russell, prosecuting, said the defendant had worked as a DJ which gave him access to youngsters who he abused during a 14-year period.

She said: “In reality Mark McCormick was a calculated sexual predator who gained the trust of young people only to manipulate and use them for his own sexual gratification.”

Ms Russell said McCormick would abuse the youngsters after parties at his home, in his car and at country parks, where he would incite them to commit sexual acts on him and others.

She said McCormick raped a girl who was drunk at a party at his home and who woke up in his bed. She said she had been “in no position to give consent”.

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In a victim impact statement read to the court, the complainant, who suffers from anxiety and flashbacks, said: “I was a troubled child and I latched on to him, he felt safe and he was cool.

“Now I am angry, it hurts an adult can take advantage of a young child struggling to fit in.

“He is a leech to vulnerable children, he shouldn’t be working in a community centre or at a local council.”

The court heard the case was brought following a cold case review by police after early reports by some of the victims were not deemed suitable for prosecution.

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Another victim described how the defendant was “an extremely clever man” who manipulated him, and added: “I was his lifeless puppet and he was my sick puppeteer.”

He added he felt forced to take part in the abuse as he feared losing his popularity at school through his contact with the defendant.

Another victim said the abuse had left him “afraid of sex” and unable to be intimate with women. He added: “All I see is his dirty smug grin, it’s planted in my head.”

Ms Russell said that following McCormick’s arrest, searches of his computer found he had been accessing internet sites such as “Daddy and Son” role playing games as recently as 2016.

Nicholas Cotter, defending, said: “Mark McCormick is a gentleman who struggled at school, suffered bullies, had a difficult home life. These do not excuse what he did and he doesn’t seek to hide behind these difficulties. He expresses profound remorse.”

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