Sleaford man jailed for indecently assaulting teenage girl and sexually assaulting a young woman

John Hall. Photo: Paul Beard EMN-190512-141025001
John Hall. Photo: Paul Beard EMN-190512-141025001

A Sleaford man who indecently assaulted a teenage girl after going to a house where she was babysitting went on to sexually abuse a young woman several years later, a court has heard.

Justice finally caught up with John Hall, 55, of St Giles Avenue, Sleaford, after a jury at Warwick Crown Court found him guilty of indecent assault and sexual assault.

Hall was jailed for four-and-a-half years and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

Prosecutor Matthew Barnes said that in the early 2000s the 13-year-old girl was babysitting at an address in Rugby.

During the evening Hall, who was also living in Rugby at the time, turned up unexpectedly at the house and sat on the sofa next to her as he talked to her.

“He made a comment about an item she was wearing around her neck, a necklace or a rosary, but it was a pretext for touching her breasts,” said Mr Barnes.

Hall told her the necklace was caught in the zip of her top as a ruse to touch her, and then moved his hand under her top and inside her bra to touch her breasts, the court heard.

“Her reaction was to be completely shocked. She froze and felt unable to react, and he went on to rub his body against hers, simulating intercourse, and then got up and left,” said Mr Barnes.

The girl immediately phoned a friend to tell her what had happened, and some weeks later she told her mother.

Her parents confronted Hall, who protested his innocence, claiming he had never touched her, and the girl did not want to go to the police at that time.

It was only last year, now in her 20s, that the girl reported what had happened after becoming aware of a further complaint of sexual assault against Hall.

Mr Barnes said that had taken place in the summer of 2017, by which time Hall had moved to Sleaford.

A woman in her mid-20s was at a property in Sleaford where Hall had previously lived and to which he still had some connection.

Mr Barnes said that on a night when his partner and her son were away in Essex, he told the woman he was planning to spend the night at the property and was first going to have a bath.

The woman fell asleep on a bed-settee in the living room, and she woke to find Hall lying next to her, and he began touching her to her side over her clothing before moving his hand to touch her upper leg and bottom.

“It was unpleasant, and there was no consent,” said Mr Barnes, “He sat up, and he left the address, and she phoned her boyfriend and told him what had happened.”

Hall denied either incident taking place.

He claimed there had been an occasion when he had inspected a gold necklace the girl was wearing, with her permission, and that she had then accused him of touching her breasts, which he asserted he had not done. And in relation to the more recent incident, he accepted he did lie on the sofa bed, but claimed he did not touch the young woman sexually.

After the jury returned its guilty verdicts, Mr Barnes said Hall had ‘a raft of offences’ of violence and dishonesty on his record.

And he pointed out that both victims have spoken of the significant impact the offences have had on them.

Andrew Tucker, defending, said: “These two matters of which he has been convicted are separated by a very long time.”

Of the offence against the girl, he made the point: “It was the touching of the breasts, but it was not touching of more private parts of that young girl, and it was on one occasion.

“So far as [the woman] is concerned, the touching was not of the genitalia and, although the circumstances must have been very distressing, it did not go beyond that.”

Jailing Hall, Judge Anthony Potter told him: “I am quite satisfied your actions were a cynical taking advantage of two individuals. There is no evidence of any remorse.

“The only mitigating factor is that you have difficulties with your health, and as a result this sentence will be harder to serve than some others you have served.”