Photo courtesy of BBC News
Piano teacher Andrew Pearson was sentenced yesterday, 20th August 2013, to an extended sentence of 22 years, combining eighteen years imprisonment and a 4 year extended licence, for the rape and abuse of a pupil.
Pearson, 37, from Bradford, was found guilty of eight offences of rape and six of ‘sexual abuse’ by a jury sitting at Bradford Crown Court. News reports state he was convicted of ‘sexual abuse’ – sexual abuse is not an offence and it is unclear exactly which offences were charged for this element of the offending. It may well be one of the ‘abuse of a position of trust’ offences under Sexual Offences Act 2003 s 16-24.
The facts of the case are sparse, but is had been reported that Pearson started grooming his female victim when she was just eight years old and the abuse continued for four years.
Further reports suggest that the some 74,000 pornographic images and 5,000 videos were found on Pearson’s computers. Pearson apparently had a fetish for soiled ladies underwear, as discovered by his wife when she found a pair of small pink knickers in his drawer, and pornography on a memory stick.
The Judge is reported to have said: “It was protracted, detailed, repeated abuse on a little girl who could not and did not understand and was ashamed, terrified, afraid to complain, afraid of you.”
Pearson is said to have forced the girl to take her clothes off and watch pornography with him.
Sentencing guidelines for the offences can be found here. The maximum sentence is one of life imprisonment. Pearson received an extended sentenceof 22 years, comprising of 18 years custody and 4 years on licence.
This means that the Judge decided that he was ‘dangerous’ within the meaning of the CJA 2003. The test is whether the defendant poses a significant risk of serious harm. On any view these were offences of the utmost seriousness and a finding of dangerousness comes as little surprise.
The aggravating features of the offences are the age of the victim, the length of time over which the offences were committed, as well as the fact that Pearson was in a position of trust. Given the length of the sentence there may be an appeal; it may be that the assessment of dangerousness is challenged. Without knowing more information about the offences and the offender, it is impossible to assess. However, on the basic facts that have been reported, it seems any appeal may well be unsuccessful.