77-year-old Ipswich hairdresser and speedway marshal jailed for child sex assaults

Star sport
John Fitch at the Barbers Shoppe in Tacket Street, Ipswich
Picture Owen Hines

Star sport John Fitch at the Barbers Shoppe in Tacket Street, Ipswich Picture Owen Hines

A well-known 77-year-old Ipswich hairdresser and speedway starter marshal has been jailed for 40 months for indecently assaulting a child.

Ipswich Crown Court.

Ipswich Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

At his Ipswich Crown Court sentencing John Fitch’s actions were branded sick, disgusting and “beneath contempt”.

Fitch, of Fletcher’s Lane, Kesgrave, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two indecent assaults on a young girl several years ago.

He had denied four other similar charges, which have been left to lie on file.

Fitch admitted kissing the girl inappropriately.

John Fitch jailed for child sex assaults

John Fitch jailed for child sex assaults - Credit: Archant

During yesterday’s hearing the court heard Fitch told a probation officer during the compiling of a report before his sentence that he believed high-profile cases in the media had led to his offences having a greater effect on him.

However, Judge David Goodin told Fitch: “It seems to me there is abundant evidence in the pre-sentence report that you feel recent publicity of other high-profile offenders has done you no good whatsoever, and has brought you lower than might otherwise need to be the case.

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“That, of course, is not the case because any right-thinking person would regard this behaviour and conduct as beneath contempt.”

“I have read the victim personal statement recording the sexual assaults by this defendant. Her feelings - so well known in cases of this nature - are of feeling sick, nervous and disgusted with herself. She, of course, having no sensible need for any such feeling.

“Sick, nervous and disgusted are what any right-thinking people would feel towards this defendant’s behaviour.

“The sadly familiar and predictable damage wrought upon an adult by abuse (as) a child is present in this case, as it is in so many.”

The court heard Fitch’s victim had been deeply affected in many ways.

Previously Paul Donegan, representing Fitch, read out part of a statement from the hairdresser: “What he says by his own hand – I remember kissing her inappropriately where I shouldn’t have done and I know how wrong that was looking back. I can also tell you I have been mentally scarred for life. I’m so full of remorse.

“I have lost my job and friends because of my stupid actions.”

Fitch also said he prayed the court would show him leniency.

In addition to his jail term Fitch was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and must sign the sex offenders’ register. Both will be for an indefinete period.