Ex-army cadet instructor from Ipswich jailed for sex assault on teenager

Norwich Crown Court

Norwich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A former instructor for the Army Cadet Force has been jailed for sexually assaulting a teenage cadet on a training camp.

Stephen Gillingham, 49, of Felix Road, Ipswich, abused his position of trust to carry out the sex assault on the girl more than a decade ago.

The assault occurred when he was alone with her in a tent during a training weekend in Thetford, Norwich Crown Court heard.

However it was not until January last year, that the victim found the courage to come forward and make a complaint.

Gillingham had denied two charges of sexual activity with a child and one charge of sex assault, but was found guilty of all charges.

Jailing him for two-and-a-half years Judge Mark Dennis said Gillingham had abused his position of trust for his own sexual gratification.

He also placed him on the sex offender’s register.

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Hugh Vass, for Gillingham said: “This was a one-off offence. He has not re-offended since.”

He said that Gillingham was not in the best of health: “He knows this kind of offence is a gross breach of trust.”

During the trial, Duncan O’Donnell, prosecuting, said that Gillingham had assaulted the girl after he found himself alone with her in a tent at night.

Mr O’Donnell said that after sexually assaulting the cadet, Gillingham had told her not to say anything. However the girl was upset and refused to ever attend another ACF camp again.

Mr O’Donnell said the girl made no complaint at the time but by January last year she felt so guilty about not coming forward to make a complaint that she finally went to police about the matter.

In an impact statement read to the court she said she felt as if she had her innocence taken away by what happened.

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