Bamber Bridge criminal was on the run when he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old outside his tent

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A wanted man who sexually assaulted a teenage girl outside a tent in Bamber Bridge has been jailed for four years and ordered to sign the Sex Offender's Register for life.

Matthew Lee Parkinson, 27, was on the run for breaching his prison licence terms when he encountered the victim, 13, and her friend in Bamber Bridge Park late one evening in June 2019.

Emma Keogh, prosecuting, said the victim and her friend had told their parents they were staying at a female friend's house, intending to stay at a male friend's house - but the boy's grandmother had found out and put a stop to it.

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She added: " The two girls found themselves on the street near Bamber Bridge Park where they came across Parkinson and another man, who asked them for cigarette papers to roll a joint.

Matthew ParkinsonMatthew Parkinson
Matthew Parkinson

The men smoked the drugs and after around 20 minutes the other decided to go home, leaving the girls with Parkinson, who had been living in a tent at the back of Matalan.

She added: " There were conversations going on about what they were doing, what they did. The defendant knew she was a schoolgirl and went to school. "He then said to them they could go to sit near where he was staying. That led them to an area near Matalan where the defendant had set up camp.

"He told her he knew where she lived and she felt fearful that the defendant would tell her parents if she didn't go along with him. He also told the girls he was wanted by police and put his hoodie up over his head.

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"There was general chit chat and the defendant offered the girls a drink."

The court heard the other girl fell asleep and the defendant then turned his attention to his victim, putting a blanket over them and starting to touch her.

The frightened girl, who he told he was 17, pushed his hand away but he continued trying to kiss her and groping her.

He then mounted a more serious sexual assault for around five minutes, before pleasuring himself.

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The girl's friend woke and the victim pretended she needed the toilet to try and get away, told her friend what had happened in the woods, but as it was around 4am, and the worried girls had nowhere to go, they returned to sit at the tent a while longer.

When her friend fell asleep again the victim pretended she had received a phone call and that a male friend was coming to meet them, to which Parkionson replied no one else was welcome at the tent.

The girls climbed over a fence to leave and Parkinson groped the girl again.

The court heard she didn't tell anybody what had happened until she went to school on Monday and confided in a member of staff, who alerted the police and her parents.

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Parkinson was arrested and denied the offences, but after his DNA was recovered from a piece of clothing he later admitted three counts of sexually assaulting a child and intentionally inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity

In a harrowing statement the girl's mother said she was "not the same girl".

She said she had been bullied and called a liar at school when Parkinson initially denied what he'd done, and has had behavioural difficulties, with thoughts of harming herself.

Defending, Daniel Prowse revealed Parkinson suffered severe physical abuse as a child, including being locked in a dog cage, and was now receiving therapy.

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He added: "His pleas indicate his remorse. He is disgusted and very shocked by his own actions. It has been a real wake up call for him and caused him to alter his behaviour and how he plans to live his life from now on."

Judge David Potter said his pleas showed the youngster had been "telling the truth throughout" and added: "This was a sustained and serious sexual assault on a child with a number of aggravating factors, most significantly the disparity between your age and the fact you lied about your age."

"It's clearly caused great distress."

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