Harrogate child sex abuser jailed for four years

A child abuser who “smirked” as he sexually assaulted a young girl has been jailed for four years.

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 5:16 pm

Paul John Geagan ignored the girl’s pleas to stop and then denied the offence after being arrested for the vile attack at a property in Harrogate.

York Crown Court heard that the attack had a devastating effect on the victim, who had suffered severe, life-changing psychological issues and whose teenage years had been “ruined”.

Paul John Geagan has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Geagan, of Woodfield Square, initially denied the assault and his case was set for trial, but he skipped two court appearances after being admitted to hospital, ostensibly after trying to take his own life following his arrest.

The 52-year-old ultimately admitted sexual assaulting a child under 13 years of age, as well as possessing over 2,000 extreme pornographic images involving animals and a Class C drug.

Geagan appeared for sentence via video link on Tuesday but tried to vacate his plea to the sex offence at the last minute.

His barrister Susannah Proctor claimed he did not have a “clear recollection” of entering his plea earlier this year because he had not long been out of hospital after being in an induced coma following a suicide attempt by overdose.

But judge Simon Hickey dismissed the application because Geagan had “clearly” been fit to enter “unequivocal” guilty pleas.

Prosecuting barrister Mr Standfast said the sexual assault occurred at a property in Harrogate in November 2015.

“(The victim) was telling him ‘no’ quite loudly, but (Geagan) didn’t stop and just smirked,” he added.

The girl was initially “too scared” to tell anyone but the matter was eventually reported to police in November 2017 – some two years later.

During police searches of Geagan’s home in 2015 and 2016, they found a bottle of GBL - a powerful liquid drug similar to GHB.

Analysis of his computer tower revealed a stash of some 2,010 extreme pornographic images – the vast majority photos but also 10 videos depicting sexual activity between adults and animals.

He admitted he had been buying GBL “for many years” and been visiting extreme porn sites on the internet, but initially denied sexually assaulting the young girl.

The victim, who was in court to see her tormentor jailed, said Geagan’s vile actions had left her suicidal.

She had self-harmed since the incident as a “reminder of what (Geagan) did”.

She said she was “petrified and confused” when Geagan attacked her and her teenage years had been ruined.

She said Geagan had groomed her and “lured me in” with his “twisted, psychotic” behavior.

Her education had suffered, she had severe sleeping problems and she had endured intolerable “pain and heartache”. She was now about to go in for trauma counselling.

The victim’s mother said her daughter had gone from a carefree teenage girl to one wracked by “dreadful anxiety, insomnia, severe depression and mood swings”.

“Knowing your daughter is in so much pain… is unbearable,” she added.

Ms Proctor, for Geagan, said the sex attack was “opportunistic” and that he had his own mental-health problems.

The extreme images were among “a host” of pornographic material on his computer, although none of these involved children.

She said that Geagan, described as a social outcast, had made three attempts on his own life during the prolonged court case and had “retreated from society”.

Judge Simon Hickey said the “harrowing” victim testimony showed that she had suffered the “lifelong” effects of Geagan’s vile behavior.

“She is scarred mentally and physically due to self-harm,” he added.

Mr Hickey said the four-year jail term - of which Geagan will serve half behind bars before being released on licence - was “the least” he could impose.

Geagan was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for life and made subject to a sexual-harm prevention order, which prohibits him from contacting the victim and restricts his internet use and contact with females under the age of 18.