Former Portsmouth lecturer jailed for child sex abuse

Dr Keith Firman, 65, of Suttones Place, Southampton, was jailed for six years at Portsmouth Crown Court for three counts of indecent assault against a young girl
Dr Keith Firman, 65, of Suttones Place, Southampton, was jailed for six years at Portsmouth Crown Court for three counts of indecent assault against a young girl
The man police would like to speak to in connection with the incident. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

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A RESPECTED lecturer has been jailed for six years for child sex abuse.

Dr Keith Firman’s crimes had a devastating effect on the victim, who bravely gave evidence against him.

At his sentencing hearing she told how after being abused, then aged between eight and 10, she has difficulty forming relationships and trusting people.

Firman, 65, denied three counts of indecent assault but was found guilty at a trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.

His victim told the court she had ‘horrific dreams’ after plucking up the courage to tell an adult what happened in the late 1980s to 1990s, but nothing was done.

The court heard Firman enjoyed a full career as a molecular biologist and previously taught at the University of Portsmouth.

His research involved working on the interfacing of nanotechnology with DNA.

But his reputation has come crashing down as his victim, now an adult, read her victim personal statement as Firman sat in the dock.

She said: ‘I still get an urge to self-harm but I’ve managed to control it.’

She added: ‘I don’t trust partners. I don’t know how to trust, this causes issues with all my relationships.

‘I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression because of the incidents.’

Stunned Firman winced as judge Ian Pearson jailed him for six years and ordered him to pay £4,000 in compensation to the woman.

The judge added due the nature of Firman’s crime he would not be automatically eligible for release half-way through the six-year term.

Sentencing, judge Pearson said: ‘The victim was particularly vulnerable because of her age.’

Firman was jailed for two years for the first count of indecent assault, three years for the second and six years for the third.

All terms are to run concurrent and the first two charges happened on the same occasion.

Barnaby Shaw, for Firman, said he maintains his innocence.

He added Firman was well-regarded by colleagues.

Firman, of Suttones Place, Southampton, must pay £2,000 prosecution costs and must sign the sex offenders’ register for life.