Sheffield child abuse survivor faces attacker in court
A Sheffield teenager pushed to self-harm and suicide attempts after being sexually assaulted as a young girl, bravely faced her attacker in court to see him being sent to prison.
The courageous 17-year-old watched as Philip Sutcliffe, 58, was sentenced to four years in prison at Sheffield Crown Court today, after he admitted to abusing her in 2014.
The girl, who was 13-years-old when the abuse took place, opted to take to the stand and read her victim impact statement to the court.
She explained how since the abuse took place her life began to unravel.
"After he abused me I started to self-harm and it progressively got worse," said the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
She added: "I got referred to the child and adolescent mental health team but my self-harm got worse and at times I ended up in hospital for my self-harm and suicide attempts.
"I was diagnosed with depression and post traumatic stress disorder because of the flashbacks I suffered. These were daily occurrences for the six weeks. When I went back to school I found it was too stressful to go back to full-time education.
"Coming out of hospital, I intended to overdose in an attempt to take my own life."
The young woman concluded by saying the trauma she experienced as a result of his abuse had 'broken' her family.
Sentencing Sutcliffe, Judge Peter Kelson QC commended the young woman's bravery.
"An aggravating feature [in this case] is the severe psychological harm you have caused your victim, who has shown remarkable courage," said Judge Kelson.
He added: "I must say that no sentence I can pass can give her her health back and help her to recover those lost years. This court can only send out a message that this type of offence will receive harsh punishment."
In addition to his four year prison sentence, Judge Kelson also Sutcliffe the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order, which prevents him from living with or spending any time with any child under the age of 16 without their parents' permission.
Defending Sutcliffe, of Throstle Nest Farm, Hipperholme, Halifax, Quentin Hunt said the 58-year-old was truly sorry for his actions and acknowledged 'mea culpa' for this offence.
The court was also told how Sutcliffe had previously been convicted of indecently assaulting two girls, one aged 15 and one aged 16, in 2002.
Sutcliffe met the girls after placing an advertisement in a shop window for teenage girls to work on his farm on weekends.
He was also convicted of the possession of hundreds of depraved images of children in sexual acts, which he claimed he had downloaded as part of his efforts to stop breach of copyright on pictures and videos from his own adult porn business of which he was a director.