Penrith man jailed after girl used iPad to secretly film him carrying out sexual assault

John Kernan was jailed at Carlisle Crown Court.
John Kearnan, from Penrith, was jailed for 16 months after pleading guilty to sexual assaults involving two separate victims. Credit: Cumbria Police

A Penrith man has been jailed for 16 months after his sexual assaults were secretly recorded on the victim's iPad.

John Kernan, of Scaws Drive, was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court after admitting to carrying out sexual offences against two different victims, years apart.

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson told how his offending came to light after a primary school-aged girl set up an iPad after becoming “increasingly uncomfortable” at Kernan’s previous behaviour during so-called “play-fighting”.

The 56-year-old was filmed on two occasions and there had been a third offence at an earlier time, the court heard.

When the victim spoke to police, the girl described trying to pull away from Kernan, of how she felt “nervous” and that she “didn’t know how to tell him to stop”.

Kernan was arrested, interviewed and when shown the iPad footage he conceded, Mr Rogerson told the court, that it “did look bad”. He had also admitted: “I’m a really silly man.”

A second female victim stepped forward as a result of the girl's report to police. It emerged that years before Kernan had made her touch him sexually on three separate occasions when she was a child and he was aged 16.

When brought to court, Kernan pleaded guilty to three sexual assault charges in respect of the first girl, and one of gross indecency in relation to the second.

Kernan, who has no other convictions, was jailed for 16 months by Judge Richard Archer.

He must sign the sex offenders’ register and follow the terms of a prevention order, both for 10 years.

The first girl’s mother had been left “sick to the stomach” after seeing the video footage and spoke of the “devastating” impact of Kernan’s crimes.

Her daughter had gone through a “rollercoaster of emotions and trauma”, including nightmares.

“This is something that will haunt us for ever,” the mother said.

Mark Shepherd, mitigating, said Kernan had experienced a difficult childhood and was a “flawed man” requiring professional help. He added: “It is something he has to carry, something he has to live with regardless of what sentence is imposed by the court.”

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