A pedophile manipulated a girl with candy and gifts before sexually assaulting her, a court has heard. Michael Phillips left his young victim with severe psychological trauma after kissing her, touching her breasts and rubbing his genitals against her before convincing her that his disgusting abuse was her fault.

The young woman’s ordeal made her feel suicidal, and she attempted suicide twice, accusing Phillips of “[taking] I end my childhood and my trust in the world.” Phillips, 63, from Avenida des Mar, Alicante, appeared in Newport Crown Court for sentencing on seven counts of indecent assault. He denied all charges, claiming that he was the victim of false accusations, but was later found guilty on all counts by a jury after a six-day trial.

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The court heard how Phillips committed a series of crimes against his victim at a property in Cardiff over the course of three years, nearly two decades ago. By buying her sweets and gifts and giving her money, he showed her “evident kindness” before manipulating and sexually assaulting her.

He passionately kissed the girl, and also hugged her and touched her breasts. The abuse continued when Phillips also removed his victim’s pants and her own before getting behind her and rubbing his erection against her legs.

After sexually assaulting the girl, Phillips made her believe that what happened was her fault and that she had done something wrong. This emotional manipulation left her feeling “confused and scared”.

A impact statement read to the court on behalf of the victim recounted how Phillips gave her a “life sentence” as she struggled to accept that he “groomed and manipulated” her. She also explained how she was suicidal as a child and has since been diagnosed with PTSD and has suffered from flashbacks.

“As a child I did not understand anything. I was confused and scared. I didn’t know what to do to stop it. I felt like I had done something wrong and was angry for life. What he did to me is life imprisonment. For years he made me feel like it was my problem. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t my fault.

“It took away my childhood and my confidence in the world,” she added, before telling him, “You no longer scare me or control my feelings.”

Prosecutor Janet McDonald said there was “evidence of serious psychological damage” caused by Phillips when the victim repeatedly attempted suicide. The court also heard that the defendant had a previous conviction for indecent exposure, for which she had served a prison sentence. He was released shortly before these crimes began.

As a mitigating factor, Phillips’ Hilary Roberts said her client had accepted her fate and knew she would be sentenced to a “significant” prison term. However, she added that the accused moved to Spain after the crimes, where he “moved” to lead an “absolutely normal life”.

Judge Lucy Crowther told the defendant that he was a “bandit and coward” who believed he was the victim of false accusations after “taking advantage” and manipulating the boy. “She trusted you, and you showed her obvious kindness,” he said. “It wasn’t really nice. You were creating opportunities that you knew you could take advantage of over time. It affected her for the rest of her life.

“You talked to her about sexual intercourse and you scared her. You manipulated her for your own sexual pleasure. It took a lot of courage to stand up to you, the bully and coward that you still are.”

Phillips was sentenced to eight years in prison. He will serve two-thirds of that sentence in custody before being released to serve the remainder of his sentence in the community.

The 63-year-old will be on the sex offender register indefinitely. He also received an indefinite restraining order against his victim, as well as an indefinite sexual harassment prevention order, which prohibits him from living in any home with a child under the age of 18 without the approval of social services and the prohibits having contact with children under the age of 18 or looking for a job where any child under the age of 18 also works.

For confidential support, Samaritans can be contacted free of charge 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123.

Source: Wales Online