A Gateshead paedophile who sexually assaulted a young girl and recorded children in changing rooms has been jailed for four years and four months.
Adam Ward, of Milton Square in Gateshead, was sentenced today after officers raided his house in 2020 to seize a number of electronic devices. The 30-year-old was found to have more than 22,000 indecent images of children and to have sexually assaulted a young girl. The court heard that other images included a young girl and a woman using the toilet, filmed via hidden camera.
Ward was charged with sexual assault on a child, voyeurism, taking indecent images of children, making indecent images of children and possession of extreme images. He appeared at Newcastle Crown Court across several dates and pleaded guilty to all charges. On Wednesday, October 12 he was sentenced to four years and four months behind bars with a five-year and eight-month extended licence, branded a high-risk sex offender.
An impact statement from the parents of the young girl who became a victim of his vile sexual assault, the mother of the child said: "I can't begin to explain the devastation and damage he has brought to our family. The emotions we go through include anger, sadness, guilt and heartbreak. I've not stopped crying since I found out about this. I feel physically sick wondering how he was able to do this and did he hurt her and scare her. I was unable to protect her, not knowing she was at risk of harm. He has shattered our lives."
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable Elizabeth Biggins, one of the officers leading the investigation, said: “This has been a long and thorough investigation by our team to ensure success at court and involved months of trawling through electronic devices. Ward’s actions are despicable, but we have been able to strike and secure the evidence needed to secure a conviction.
“I would like to thank the families involved for their assistance, resilience and patience throughout the investigation. I hope this sends a firm message to other potential offenders that our robust stance on this deplorable type of crime remains strong, and that the next person at your door could very well be us. I would always encourage anyone with information about this type of offending, or anyone who thinks they have been a victim, to come forward and talk to us. You will be heard and supported, and we will work hard to ensure any offenders have their day in court.”
Victims of sexual abuse can find help through charities including Safeline, who can be contacted here.