Barnsley sex offender tried to bribe 10-year-old victim with gaming tokens, Sheffield Crown Court hears
'You've not shown any remorse at all," a Sheffield judge told a man who sexually assaulted a young boy.
and live on Freeview channel 276
A Barnsley man sexually assaulted a 10-year-old boy, before offering him ‘gaming tokens’ in a bid to bribe him into allowing him to continue with the abuse.
Describing the circumstances of Bryon Shepherd’s sexual offending, Judge Graham Reeds KC told the defendant: “You made him sit on your knee, put your hands down his trousers and touched his penis…you offered him money to allow it to carry on, well not real money but money for use on a game, but he refused.”
Prosecutor Nicola Quinney told Sheffield Crown Court that Shepherd, aged 21, offered the boy ‘gaming tokens’. She said the sexual assault only came to an end when Shepherd was disturbed by an individual returning to the property where the assault took place.
During the course of a subsequent police interview, the boy - who cannot be named for legal reasons - said Shepherd ‘wouldn’t stop doing it,’ although she acknowledged the sexual assault took place over a ‘relatively short period of time’.
A hearing held on November 16, 2023 was told that at the time of the offence, Shepherd was on bail for other alleged offences.
Ms Quinney said one of the conditions of Shepherd’s bail was that he was prohibited from having ‘any contact with a child under 18’.
The nature of the other allegations was not disclosed in court, however.
In a statement to the court, the mother of the boy - who cannot be named for legal reasons - said that after learning of Shepherd’s offending she felt as though she had ‘failed’ her son, and that she ‘wasn’t good enough’.
She went on to say that she hopes her son will not be ‘haunted’ by what Shepherd did to him, and that he can now ‘move on with his life’.
Ms Quinney said Shepherd has a number of previous convictions, dating back to 2013, for offences including possession of an offensive weapon, battery and criminal damage.
Shepherd pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13 at an earlier hearing.
Defending, Thomas Penman said Shepherd has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which manifests through his ‘impulsivity’ and ‘thrill-seeking behaviour’.
He cited Shepherd ‘running across the M1’ as an example of such behaviour.
Mr Penman also suggested Shepherd’s condition means there is an ‘element of reduced culpability,’ when compared to individuals without ASD.
But Judge Reeds told Shepherd he could not ‘see any clear link between your condition - as it has been described - and your offending’.
Mr Penman said Shepherd has spent 145 days in custody on remand, and suggested that his client was likely to find a prison sentence ‘particularly difficult’ because of his condition.
In response to this, Judge Reeds noted that an assessment carried out by a doctor suggested Shepherd had been coping relatively well in prison, owing to the ‘structure’ of a custodial setting, and the fact he had been able to obtain a job.
Mr Penman said that while Shepherd still has not ‘accepted’ his offending to the author of his pre-sentence report (PSR), he stands by his guilty pleas. Mr Penman also suggested the the ‘risk of sexual offences against children’ Shepherd has been deemed to pose by the author of his PSR could be ‘reduced’ through the conditions of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order applied for by prosecutors.
Judge Reeds told Shepherd, of Grange Road, Barnsley, that the only ‘appropriate punishment’ for the ‘harm you’ve caused to this young child and his family’ is one of immediate imprisonment, and jailed him for 18 months.
He added: "You've not shown any remorse at all."
Shepherd was also made the subject of a 10-year restraining order, prohibiting him from contacting the complainant or his family, as well as a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.
He will also be required to sign on to the sex offenders’ register for the same period of time.