Sick paedophile left prison then assaulted girls

Robert Cornell has been jailed for 10 years
Robert Cornell has been jailed for 10 years
Chief Inspector Sharon Woolrich

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PERVERT Robert Cornell has been jailed for 10 years after sexually abusing three young girls.

Former wedding photographer Cornell had already been sentenced to seven years in prison for sex offences against young girls but went on to abuse the three, aged eight, five and four, when he was released.

The 46-year-old, of Plaitford Grove, Havant, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court where he was jailed by Recorder Nicholas Atkinson QC.

Prosecutor Martyn Booth told the court that Cornell had told one family his previous convictions were unfounded and gained access to their children.

Cornell had even attempted to take his conviction to appeal but that bid failed, said Mr Booth.

He said Cornell was able to be alone with girls and the parents thought he got on with them.

‘In a sense he almost spoiled them. He would buy them sweets, treats, that sort of thing,’ he said.

Cornell, who exposed himself to all three girls as well as abusing them, told them what happened was a secret and that they should not tell anyone.

It was only when one of the girls said she hated Cornell that his actions were uncovered.

When he was arrested on October 21 he told police he was never left alone with the girls and said the allegations were not true.

But 10 days later he confessed everything to a probation officer who was visiting in relation to the previous offences.

Mr Booth said: ‘He told her he had sexually assaulted the girls in question. He said this was opportunist in nature.’

He added: ‘Cornell said that he had a problem and he needed help.’

Mr Booth said Cornell even claimed that one girl ‘enjoyed’ what he did and that is why he carried on. But Mr Booth said the crown could not accept this and branded it ‘ludicrous’.

In personal statements made by the children’s parents, the court heard the family felt Cornell had stalked them to get access to their children.

Robert Bryan, defending, said Cornell had become interested in children after using a studio computer to look up model images of children, before then looking up indecent images.

Mr Bryan said: ‘He is anxious for help.’

Mr Atkinson QC said: ‘The gravity of these offences, in themselves grave, are the more serious because of the defendant’s previous conviction for offences of a similar nature against young children.’

He jailed Cornell for 10 years and eight months and he will be released only when a parole board agrees, with a four-year extended licence period when he leaves jail.

A sexual harm prevention order was imposed.

Cornell pleaded guilty to seven charges of sexually assaulting children under the age of 13 and four of breaching a sexual offences prevention order, imposed after his previous trial banning him from being left alone with young children.