Court told of child sex victim’s suicide attempts

Court House-07A girl now aged nine has attempted suicide five or six times after sexual abuse by Christopher Michael Colin Wordsworth.

Twenty-year-old Wordsworth has admitted 10 child sex abuse offences involving two small girls, committed when he was aged up to 17.

He pleaded guilty last year to eight charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and two charges of indecently assaulting one of the girls. The girls were aged between six and eight at the time.

Wordsworth sat downcast, with his face in his hands, in the dock in the Christchurch District Court as the mother of one of the girls read a victim impact statement to Judge Alistair Garland.

She said she was shattered that Wordsworth had taken her daughter’s innocence.

She described her daughter’s “extreme behaviour” and said she and her daughter were both now on anti-depressants to prevent suicidal thoughts.

Her daughter would run into traffic in the middle of the road, screaming that she wanted to die. She had to sprint into the road to stop her. This had happened five or six times.

Defence counsel Mark Callaghan said the offending had come to light because Wordsworth had disclosed it himself. Wordsworth was under no illusions that a jail term would be considered, but when the youth pleaded guilty last year he urged the court to consider a home detention sentence in spite of the seriousness.

The location of the offending has been suppressed. The offending involved touching, digital penetration of the vagina, anal intercourse, and forced oral sex.

Crown prosecutor Nicola Pointer said it was accepted the offender showed genuine remorse and had disclosed his offending to other people.

Mr Callaghan said there should be significant reductions in the sentence for the guilty pleas, Wordsworth’s age, and his disclosure of the offending.

Judge Garland said Wordsworth had considered suicide and self-harm when he considered the impact of his offending. He had been aged 15 to 17 years at the time he offended against young and vulnerable victims. There would likely be substantial and long-lasting emotional harm.

He allowed reductions for the guilty pleas, Wordsworth’s age, and his contrition and remorse, and imposed a sentence of three years four months prison.


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