Window cleaner jailed for sexual assault on girl out rollerskating

Neil Rycroft
Neil Rycroft Credit: Liverpool Echo

A window cleaner from the Wirral has been for jailed for sexually abusing a girl who was rollerskating in the street.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Neil Rycroft from Moreton attacked the teenager in a public toilet block after a "chance encounter".

The sexual assault had left the girl feeling numb and disgusted.

The court heard the girl had been out rollerblading shortly before 8pm and saw the defendant driving past her several times in his van.

Rycroft later claimed to have been circulating the area looking for houses where there could be potential new customers for his window cleaning business.

Liverpool Crown Court Credit: Liverpool Echo

Charlotte Kenny, prosecuting, described how he then pulled his vehicle over to use a toilet near to where she had stopped.

After he had done so, the 48-year-old approached her from behind, tapped her on the shoulder and asked her "if she was nervous".

Rycroft touched her on the bottom and beckoned her into a cubicle, where he instructed her to perform a sex act on him.

She "froze" at this point, with the pervert leaving and driving away afterwards.

The victim told her school friends and mum what had happened the following day, and he was arrested a further two days later.

During a police interview, Rycroft claimed that it had been her who had initiated the incident.

A statement read out to the court on her behalf described how she was left "ashamed" and with an "overwhelming feeling of guilt", while she also has a "sense that her life has been ruined".

The youngster previously "loved to go out on her rollerskates" but no longer does so as she feels her parents are now "scared" of her doing so.

She added: "What happened to me that night has made me feel horrible.

For a long time, I felt numb - I often pretend I am doing OK or better than I really am, but inside I feel disgusted."

Rycroft, who appeared via video link to HMP Altcourse, admitted sexual activity with a child and was jailed for five years and one months.

He will be required to sign the sex offenders' register for life, while he was also handed an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and a restraining order banning him from contacting the victim for seven years.

Merseyside Police's Detective Constable Alex Fowler said following the sentencing: "We hope that this sentence goes some way to helping the victim as she comes to terms with this traumatic experience and we will continue to support her.

We'd like to praise the whole family's immense strength and courage in reporting this crime and engaging throughout what can be a harrowing process, through to today's outcome.

"Rycroft is a predator who saw a young and vulnerable child as someone to manipulate and abuse.

Such offenders should be removed from the streets and closely monitored when the time comes to release them.

We treat all allegations of sexual offences sensitively and with compassion and have specially trained officers who ensure victims are listened to, safeguarded and supportedfrom the moment they report a crime and right through the judicial process.

"If anybody is out there suffering in silence we want you to know that there is help and support available, both from Merseyside Police, and from reliable and trusted support groups who will stand with you from the initial report and for as long as you need."