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Former Chester court usher's child sex abuse shame

Michael Wootton admitted 10 offences of sexual assault, sexual activity with a child and indecent exposure

Mold Crown Court

A former usher at Chester Crown Court held his head in his hands as details of his dark past as a child abuser emerged.

Michael Wootton, 51, who worked as as a respected usher at Chester, Warrington and Knutsford, told his victim more than once when he worked in court that false sexual allegations ruined the lives of innocent people.

But in reality he had been abusing the girl, who lived in the Flintshire area, for more than 15 years.

Wootton was jailed for three years and four months after admitting 10 offences of sexual assault, sexual activity with a child and indecent exposure.

The offences occurred between 1996 and 2012 in the Flintshire area.

Wootton, now, of Kinross High Street, Perth but formerly from Deeside, in North Wales, was ordered to register as a sex offender indefinitely.

A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was also made for life.

His barrister David Polglase said: “He is keen through me to say that he wants to apologise to all he has hurt.

“He accepts he should never have hurt people in the way that he has done, hurt that extends beyond the complainant.”

And he added: “He wants to apologise for letting his former employers down. He finds it embarrassing to be back before the court in this way.”

Judge Rhys Rowlands said he had offended over a 15 year period which had “a profound effect” upon the victim.

He did it for sexual gratification and believed that he had “got away with it”.

But he was now being held to account at the age of 51 for his behaviour in his 30s and 40s.

There had been significant delays in bringing the matter to court.

However, that meant that he had led a normal life for many years while the victim, who was very young when the offending started, had to live with what he had done.

“That reality is that she cannot escape from it,” Judge Rowlands told him.

Her victim impact statement, which he had read with care, showed the offending had an effect upon her: “She is still trying to come to terms with what happened to her,” the judge said.

Prosecuting barrister Matthew Curtis said Wootton had worked as an usher at Chester Crown Court and had told the victim that false historical sexual allegations ruined the lives of innocent people.

In a victim impact statement she detailed the effect on her life, told how she suffered “night terror” where she woke up screaming and shouting, together with nightmares and flashbacks.

She had trust issues and suffered from depression and anxiety.

Wootton had denied the allegations to the police and initially pleaded not guilty but he deserved credit for changing his pleas to guilty and avoiding a trial.

He was not in the best of health and had a problem with his feet which affected his mobility.

Wootton had been hoping to start his own business selling water treatment equipment.

Mr Polglase suggested that a three year community order may be appropriate so that the defendant could follow a rehabilitative programme.

But the judge said that it was so serious that only immediate custody was appropriate.

The court heard Wotton had a previous conviction for indecent exposure dating back to when he was a teenager.

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