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Reading Crown Court: Man avoids jail for child sex assault

Defendant would 'struggle in any prison environment,' judge told

John Garvey

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886628

A MAN who sexually assaulted a young boy and his father was spared prison.

His defence counsel had told the judge that his client was "sensitive and caring and would undoubtedly, in my submission, struggle in any prison environment.”

The 27-year-old defendant also had a "strong and realistic possibility of rehabilitation" according to the sentencing judge.

In the dock at Reading Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday) was 27-year-old freelance gardener Hugo Fillery of Front Street in Hungerford.

Andrew Ward-Jackson, prosecuting, said the incident happened during a camping trip.

He said: “The victim went to sleep and was awoken by the defendant touching him.

“He then saw the defendant apparently near his son’s sleeping bag, taking his hand out from under his son’s sleeping bag.

“The defendant withdrew his hand as though he had been doing something. The victim asked him, in strong language, what he was doing. 

“The defendant claimed he was looking for his ear plugs. The boy was asleep throughout.”

Mr Ward-Jackson said Fillery admitted to his mother, Sarah, he had been having “urges about kids that he could not control”.

Fillery initially denied sexually assaulting both the father and son, but later changed his pleas.

Carol Hawley, defending, said: “The case clearly crosses the custody threshold, it is a prospect which has frankly filled him with terror in the last year. 

“He has no previous convictions, no experience or contact with the police, no reprimands, no cautions.

“Character references describe him as a shy and gentle person. He is sensitive and caring and would undoubtedly, in my submission, struggle in any prison environment.

“Mr Fillery fears that he would be victimised, not just because of the nature of the offence but also because of his vulnerabilities and his personality. 

“Thankfully the child slept through these events.

“He remained undisturbed throughout this assault. One hopes he will be unaffected by this as he develops.”

The court heard Fillery had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at a young age and had been in contact with psychiatrists for much of his life.

Judge Edward Burgess QC said: “Your victim is extremely upset and angry about what happened, on behalf of himself and also on behalf of his son.

“It has had real and enduring adverse consequences for him and his son.

“This is a peculiar case and the facts of this offending are peculiar and it seems to me that the key to understanding it lies in understanding of you and your personal history, including your life at school and your psychiatric history.

“None of that, of course, excuses, let alone exonerates your behaviour.

“In my judgement, there is a strong and realistic prospect of rehabilitation in this case and that also assists your strong personal mitigation.”

Fillery was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months and made subject to a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

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