Barnsley child sex abuser allowed to go to Greece while on bail has now been jailed

Matthew Thompson admitted sexually abusing two girls. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

A lorry driver from Barnsley who admitted sexually abusing two girls was allowed to go on holiday while awaiting his prison sentence.

Matthew Thompson pleaded guilty to 10 sex offences against children at Bradford Crown Court in October.

The 48-year-old, who was on bail, was told by a judge he could still go on his pre-arranged holiday to Greece with the condition that he reported to Barnsley police station on the day he returned home.

The court heard how Thompson had abused one of his victims when she was just seven-years-old.

Prosecutor David Ambrose McGonigal said he would sexually abuse her in his lorry, showing her pornography and taking indecent photographs of her.

Mr McGonigal said: "The defendant would offer her money to encourage her to partake in the sexual abuse. She recalled the defendant trying to get her to accept the sexual abuse as normal behaviour."

The court heard how Thompson also targeted another girl who he plied with drink and drugs before carrying out his sick offending.

Mr McGonigal said: "When she was sober she would tell him she wasn't comfortable with what he was doing but when he gave her drink or drugs it would happen."

The court was told the girl disclosed the abuse to a therapist, who then reported Thompson, in 2020.

He was arrested and items were seized from his home and examined. It was found that internet searches had been made and search terms included: "seven-year-old sex stories" and "paedo sex stories."

Thompson denied any wrongdoing and told officers during his police interview that he believed his second victim was 16 and that sex had been consensual.

He was interviewed again in February 2021 in relation to the images found on items seized from his home.

In a victim impact statement, Thompson's first victim said the abuse was something she can "never get over" and he "robbed" her of her childhood.

She said: "I have the worst nightmares and wake up terrified thinking it is happening to me again. It takes time to adjust and know I'm safe. I just want to have a normal life but I can't. I have suffered with depression and this has caused me to want to end my life."

Thompson's second victim also wrote a statement for the court and said she has suffered with her mental health since the abuse.

She said she is "haunted" by what Thompson did to her and said: "For a long time I blamed myself for what he did to me but the fact is that he was the adult and we were the children. I wasn't consenting. I'm terrified of the outcome and consequences.

"I wasn't strong enough to report what happened to me sooner and he was able to have freedom. I have been strong enough to push through the pain of these events. We deserve to feel safe and have justice and the only way for that to be possible is for him not to be a part of society."

Thompson, of Bentham Drive in Barnsley, was sentenced on Friday to 15 years and 10 months in jail.

He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for life and was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Thompson pleaded guilty at Bradford Crown Court

Kirklees police, who lead the investigation, said they welcomed the sentence given to Thompson for what was "sustained sexual offending" against "young and vulnerable victims".

Dc Ameira Bright said: “I want to praise their courage in coming forward and reporting Matthew Thompson to us.

"Their bravery has exposed the awful acts this man committed and given police and partners the chance to seek justice for them and ensure Thompson has been sentenced for his crimes."

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