Prison officer from Esh Winning jailed for eight years for sexually abusing young girl
JAILED: Eight year sentence passed on defendant Jeffrey Bussey after conviction for sexual assault
A PRISON officer is himself behind bars tonight after being jailed for eight years for indecently assaulting a young girl.
Durham Crown Court heard that, despite being found guilty following his recent trial, defendant Jeffrey Bussey maintains he is innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted.
The 58-year-old was a serving officer until his arrest after the allegations arose – when information was passed to the authorities last July from the victim’s school.
He denied sexually assaulting the girl, but did say that it may have been confused for tickling, on one occasion only.
Bussey told police that he was sexually attracted to women and not to children.
The defendant, of Dene Park, Esh Winning, near Durham, maintained that account during his trial at the court in April this year.
But, he was convicted of two counts of sexual assault following unanimous jury verdicts on the third day of the hearing, after which he was remanded in custody by trial judge, Christopher Prince.
Richard Bennett, prosecuting, told the sentencing hearing that although Bussey was convicted on two similar counts, one of the charges was a specific incident and the other a specimen allegation, covering a number of occasions when the offending was said to have taken place.
Mr Bennett then read from the impact statement put forward by the girl’s mother, who said her daughter has had to undergo counselling as a result of her ordeal, which is still continuing through the Barnardo’s children’s charity.
The mother added that as a result of what had taken place, her daughter had become fearful of men.
Jane Foley, for Bussey, told the court that he had been a serving prison officer who was of previous good character.
She said: “He’s a man, who, at a late stage in his life, has lost his good character.
“He maintains he is innocent and, therefore, there is no remorse, but he has to accept the verdict returned by the jury.
“Clearly, it’s a tragic case as they often are, for all concerned.”
Judge Christopher Prince said the girl’s family has been “shattered” by what has taken place.
“It’s to be hoped that the counselling will help her in time.
“She was particularly vulnerable, given her extreme youth.”
He passed consecutive sentences of five and three years.
He also made Bussey subject of future restrictions under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, “until further order”. including prohibiting unsupervised contact with underage females.
The defendant will also be subject to registration as a sex offender for life.
Following the hearing, the officer overseeing the case, Detective Constable Katrina Meisuria, from Durham Police Safeguarding Unit, said: “This has been an incredibly difficult time for all involved.
“I hope that now sentence has been passed the family will be able to start to put this traumatic event behind them.”