[A] CARLISLE man convicted of molesting a young girl has been jailed for four years.
Robert Ferguson’s sexual abuse came to light after concerns were raised about a picture the child had drawn. When the girl was later interviewed by police, it emerged she had been asked by Ferguson to keep his offending a “secret”.
The 60-year-old denied a charge of causing or inciting a child aged under 13 to engage in sexual activity. But after a trial last month before a jury at Carlisle Crown Court, he was found guilty of the crime on a majority verdict.
Ferguson was sentenced today (TUES), when Judge Peter Hughes QC heard the defendant remained “bewildered” by the jury’s decision.
The court heard no impact statement had been sought from the young victim with care being taken not to “revisit” the abuse with her.
Jailing Ferguson, of Warwick Road, Judge Hughes told him: “This was a course of conduct where you took advantage of her young age.”
Ferguson must sign the sex offenders’ register, and abide by the strict terms of a sexual harm prevention order – both for an indefinite period.
Detective Constable Cheryl Skelton said: “This was a difficult investigation for all those at Cumbria Police and partner agencies, who worked together to assist in safeguarding the victim from harm and gathering vital evidence. I am pleased that our hard work and multi-agency approach has led to Ferguson answering for what he did to his young child victim.
“I would like to praise the bravery of the victim throughout both the police investigation and the trial, and thank Witness Care at Carlisle Crown Court, who have provided support to the victim and other witnesses throughout the court hearings.
“We take all allegations of this nature very seriously and would encourage any victims of abuse to come forward. All investigations are dealt with thoroughly and are undertaken sensitively and professionally by specially trained officers, to ensure victims receive the necessary support.”