Norwich man spared jail for sex assaults on girls aged seven and eight
A Norwich man has been spared jail for sexually assaulting two young girls on an allotment.
Gary Karn, of Firwood Close, inappropriately touched the two girls, aged seven and eight, telling them that he was brushing spiders off them.
The 48-year-old was yesterday handed an 18-month sentence at Norwich Crown Court, suspended for two years, and banned from working with children for five years.
He must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and was given a five-year sexual offences prevention order.
Following a three-day trial in which both girls gave evidence, Karn was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against a child under 13.
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He also asked for a charge of possession of extreme pornography, arising from DVDs found at his house during a police search, to be taken into consideration before sentencing.
Jude Durr, mitigating for Karn, called the incident a 'moment of madness' and said a prison sentence would punish Karn's family as much as him.
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'Imprisonment will almost certainly lead to him losing his job. If he loses his liberty and they lose their house, that would have pretty devastating consequences on the family circumstances.'
He described the offences as 'opportunistic' and said there had been no grooming involved.
Judge Mark Lucraft said an immediate jail term would unfairly affect Karn's family.
He added: 'I have to consider the impact on them: people who are not in any way at fault yet might suffer serious hardship from your actions.'