Press report lands paedophile with longer sentence

Darlington and Stockton Times: IN PRISON: Convicted paedophile Steven McGowan. IN PRISON: Convicted paedophile Steven McGowan.

A PAEDOPHILE who was convicted of taking indecent pictures of girls in a swimming pool changing room has been jailed for longer after publicity from the case prompted another victim to come forward.

Teesside Crown Court heard how a woman contacted police after reports of Steven McGowan’s offending at the Splash baths in Stockton appeared in the press.

The victim told how she was abused by McGowan when she was 14 and 15 after being given vodka and cannabis.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said the defendant bought the girl underwear, asked her to sleep in his bed and showed her adult material on television.

He abused her on several occasions after she woke up to find him next to her.

The court heard the abuse had caused her to suffer flashbacks and have panic attacks.

McGowan was also sentenced today (Monday, June 23) for abusing a 13-year-old girl who woke on two occasions on a sofa to find his hand in her underwear.

The girl said the pretended to be asleep while he abused her.

The attacks had left her feeling depressed and had made her self-harm, Mr Dodds said.

In September last year, McGowan, now 40, was jailed for two years after he was caught putting his camera under the adjoining cubicle wall in the changing rooms at Splash to take pictures of two ten-year-old girls.

When his home in nearby Thornaby was searched, police recovered two lap-top computers containing more than 5,000 indecent images of children

When questioned by police, McGowan said he could not remember committing the abuse on the two teenagers but said “if the children said it happened it must have happened”, Mr Dodds said.

He also initially told officers he could have been sleeping while he committed the crimes.

Peter Wishlade, mitigating, said his client, formerly of Acklam Road, Thornaby, had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, which had spared the victims the need to give evidence.

McGowan admitted six charges, including assault by penetration, sexual assault and indecent assault, at an earlier hearing.

Jailing him for five years, Judge George Moorhouse told the defendant: “These were very, very serious offences – offences I feel justify a custodial sentence.

“You were in a position of trust. You provided alcohol and cannabis, and there was a degree of grooming.”

McGowan was told he would remain on the sex offenders’ register for life.

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