School caretaker jailed for historical sex offences on girls

Darren Sharp

Darren Sharp - Credit: Archant

A school caretaker from Gosmore has been sentenced to eight years in prison for six counts of indecent assault on three separate females.

Darren Lee Sharp, who pleaded guilty to the charges at Cambridge Crown Court on September 15, was sent to prison on Wednesday last week.

The crimes took place between 1996 and 1997 – more than 10 years before Sharp became a caretaker at St Ippolyts Primary School – on three girls who were all aged under 14 at the time of the offences.

The assaults were reported this year and Sharp arrested and charged following an investigation by detectives in the Joint Child Protection Investigation Team.

A Herts County Council spokesman said: “Darren Sharp worked as a caretaker at St Ippolyts Primary School from October 2008 to June 2014 following a full CRB check.

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“He was arrested in June 2014. An investigation by police and by Hertfordshire County Council’s child protection team found nothing untoward about his conduct at the school. The offences he has been convicted of pre-date his employment and do not relate to the school.”

Det Sgt Chris Treadwell said: “What Sharp did cannot be undone but I hope the sentencing brings some sense of closure for the women who bravely came forward and reported him.

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“I also hope our investigation and the subsequent sentencing demonstrates how seriously reports of past crimes are taken. It can be very difficult for a victim of a sexual offence to come forward, but I would like to reassure people we will treat all reports appropriately and with sensitivity, regardless of how long ago the incident occurred. We have a dedicated team of trained specialist staff who investigate these offences.

“Victims who may not wish to report the incident to the police first, can use a sexual assault referral centre. who provide advice, guidance and support to men, women and young people who have experienced sexual assault, whether this happened recently or in the past.”

The NSPCC’s Jon Brown said: “This case sends a clear message regardless of when abuse has taken place, perpetrators can still be brought to justice. It’s vital victims know they will be listened to and supported and this case demonstrates it. The young women in this case have been exceptionally brave in coming forward.”

Call SARC on 0808 178 4448 or the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000

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