Former traffic warden gets six years in jail for abusing girl
- Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers
A former Norfolk traffic warden who sexually abused a girl more than a decade ago has been jailed for six years.
Sentencing 49-year-old Shane Vertigan at Ipswich Crown Court today (Monday, August 9), Judge David Goodin said he had been "an outwardly decent member of society concealing a dark and ugly secret."
He said Vertigan had become obsessed with the girl, who was more than 20 years younger his junior, and had used grooming behaviour "to get her to where he wanted her to be."
He said the sexual assaults included Vertigan touching her genital area.
Judge Goodin said the victim of the offences had been adversely affected by what had happened to her and it had affected her relationships with men.
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Vertigan had denied eight charges of abusing the girl but was found guilty of six offences of sexually assaulting a girl between the ages of 13-15 by a jury at Norwich Crown Court on Friday.
Vertigan of Whitelands, Fakenham was cleared of one offence of sexual assault and the jury was directed to find him not guilty of another.
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In addition to being jailed he was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and ordered to sign the sex offenders' register indefinitely.
During the trial the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said she had frozen and panicked when she was abused by Vertigan.
"He said I was not to tell anyone. He said it was a bit of fun," she told the court.
She said he also bought her credits for her phone so he could send her text messages.
She said that she was worried she might get into trouble if she told anyone about the abuse at the time but said as she got older she realised what had happened was wrong and went to the police.
The trial heard Vertigan, who had previously worked as a traffic warden, had a previous conviction in May 2013 for a sex assault on a 22-year-old woman in February 2012.
David Wilson, prosecuting, said that when Vertigan was interviewed about the allegations he made no comment but had given police a prepared statement denying anything inappropriate had happened.
Juliet Donovan for Vertigan said her client was highly regarded by people who had provided references for him and was described as "compassionate with a desire to support people."
She said he would have to realise that "not everyone wants to be hugged and kissed and not everyone appreciated his 'Carry On' type of humour."
"He needs to change his behaviour in the future and not repeat it," said Miss Donovan.
She said Vertigan's family would suffer emotionally and financially through his absence.