IPSWICH: A pervert has today avoided an immediate prison sentence despite admitting a sex assault on a 14-year-old girl at a health and fitness centre.
John Donnelly escaped a jail term despite pleading guilty to the assault at Clarice House, Bramford, on November 4 last year.
Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday that Donnelly put his hand inside the girl’s bikini bottoms while the pair were in a jacuzzi.
The 68-year-old, of Broomwade Close, Ipswich, was handed a six-month prison term which was suspended for two years.
“It’s difficult to understand precisely what motivated you,” said Judge Roderick Newton, sentencing Donnelly.
“You’re a man of previous good character and I give you significant credit for that and that you owned up to your responsibilities at an early stage.
“But the fact is when you read what occurred, most right thinking people would be disgusted and revolted by your conduct.
“It seems to me I would be failing in my duty if I did not impose a prison sentence but I am going to suspend it for two years.”
Gregory Perrins, mitigating for Donnelly, said the attack had been a moment of madness for his client and that he was at a low risk of re-offending.
“He is someone in very poor health,” added Mr Perrins. “He’s had heart attacks, he has high blood pressure and lung problems because of asbestos exposure.
“He says he’d find the prison environment very difficult.
“He has no previous convictions and there’s never been any indication of this behaviour in the past.”
In addition to his suspended jail term Donnelly was also given a two-year supervision order - designed to help him address his sexual offending behaviour - and told to sign the sex offenders register.
Donnelly, at an earlier hearing, pleaded guilty to one charge of non penetrative sexual activity with a female child over 13.