Barham: Security guard jailed over child sex offences

A SECURITY guard convicted of four counts of sexually assaulting a schoolgirl has been jailed for three years.

Mark Stringer, 48, of Lower Crescent, Barham, near Claydon, had denied the charges, which involved a child under 13 years old, but was convicted following an Ipswich Crown Court trial in April.

In addition to Stringer’s jail term, Judge John Devaux told the 48-year-old he would have to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely. He will also be barred from working with children aged under 16 when he is released from prison

Stringer had claimed the girl was lying when she said he had touched her intimately.

Giving evidence during his trial Stringer said: “I could never do that to anybody.”

The offences took place between January 2007 and July 2008.

Prior to the offences Stringer had no previous convictions and was working as a security guard in west Suffolk.

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The police were contacted in 2010 after the girl broke down in tears and made allegations against Stringer.

Giving evidence during the trial via a TV link, the girl denied making up the allegations.

The girl refuted defence suggestions that she and her friends at school had competed to see who could tell the biggest lie.

However, she accepted that after telling a male friend about what Stringer had allegedly done to her she had asked him to tell police that she had told him in person rather than on Facebook or by e mail because she didn’t want the police looking at private messages to her friends on Facebook.

The jury were unable to reach a verdict on a further count of rape.

Yesterday the court was told there would be no re-trial on the allegation.