Bury St Edmunds/Ipswich: Outbursts in court as Aaron Clayton jailed for six years for sexually assaulting a child
10:00 21 May 2014
A man who still denies molesting a child despite being convicted of sexual assault after a three-day trial has been given a six-year jail term.
Aaron Clayton, of College Close, Horringer, near Bury St Edmunds, was sentenced amid stormy scenes at Ipswich Crown Court.
Judge Rupert Overbury said when he had met the victim he had found her to be cheerful and engaging girl who did not appear to have been adversely affected by what had happened to her.
However, he said a victim impact statement painted a very different picture.
This prompted a loud remark from one of the 32-year-old’s family and friends in the public gallery.
Judge Overbury halted the hearing and asked for Clayton’s supporters to be cleared from the court.
Further shouting and swearing followed from a number of people.
When order was restored after police and the court’s usher had shepherded the men and women from the court, Judge Overbury resumed sentencing, although he allowed the defendant’s father back in.
The judge made it clear to Clayton what had gone on would not be held against him and would not sway his sentencing.
The court heard during his trial Clayton had disagreed with various prosecution points.
Judge Overbury told him: “You set out to challenge the voracity of some of the police officers’ (evidence), but plainly you were someone who would seek to take any point that was to your advantage in the promotion of what plainly was an untrue defence.”
Earlier in mitigation Clayton’s barrister Jo Eley stated her client still denied he had sexually assaulted the girl despite a jury’s guilty verdict.
However the judge said Clayton – who had 27 previous convictions for 43 offences, although none for offences of a sexual nature – posed a high, but not substantial risk to children.
In addition to his jail term Clayton was made subject to the sex offenders’ notification requirements for life and given a sexual offences prevention order to limit his contact with children.
The judge added: “It is necessary to protect young people from any future offences by you. I am under a duty to pass a sentence that is commensurate with your offending.”
Half of Clayton’s six-year term will be served in prison, the remainder on licence.