A journalist has been jailed for three years for carrying out a string of indecent assaults against a five-year-old girl.
Former Shields Gazette chief sub-editor David Blakelock gained the trust of the girl’s mother and then abused her daughter while he was babysitting her.
Durham Crown Court heard how the assaults took place in the girl’s home in a County Durham village.
Giving evidence via the court’s video link, the girl said she liked Blakelock and the assaults didn’t hurt, but she knew what he was doing was “naughty”.
She told the jury how Blakelock would touch her and then encourage her to touch his private parts.
The assaults took place in the bath, in various rooms of the house and when the pair “played games” on a bed.
The girl later drew a series of pictures, including one graphic depiction of Blakelock indecently assaulting her.
Blakelock, (30), of Taunton Square, Thorney Close, Sunderland, was convicted after a two-day trial on two charges of indecent assault, and a third charge of inciting a girl under the age of 14 years to carry out an act of gross indecency with him.
All the offences were carried out between August 2002 and February this year. He was working for the Shields Gazette at the time.
Giving evidence in his own defence, he said he had been a journalist for 11 years and had never been in any trouble with the police.
He said the girl was telling lies, but he could offer no explanation as to why.
Jailing Blakelock, Judge Esmund Faulks told him: “You are 30 years old and a man of good character.
“But you have been convicted of three charges of indecency by the jury and these are very grave matters indeed.
“Three years is the least sentence I can pass, and you must also sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for the rest of your life.”
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