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Northgate man sentenced to 18 years for sexual assaults on 10-year-old girl

A Crawley man has been given an 18-year-prison sentence for sexual assaults on a young girl.

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John Cole, 33, a mechanic, of Oak Way, Crawley, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Friday (11 October) having been found guilty after a five-day trial, of two offences of rape and four offences of engaging in sexual activity, against the 10-year-old girl between 2017 and 2018.

He will also be a registered sex offender for life.

Detective Constable Kirstie Prentice of the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit said;

“Cole came to know the young girl over a period of time and systematically sexually abused her, taking advantage of her age and natural vulnerability for his own sexual gratification, telling her her that if she told anyone they would both go to prison.

“Only when her mother found a note hidden in a backpack in the girl’s bedroom revealing she had been assaulted by him did the offending come to light, and police were informed.

“She has very bravely supported the investigation throughout and gave evidence against Cole in court, with special measures including a screen to help her.”

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UPDATE: ‘I saw two men, one with a knife and the other with an axe’ – Police confirm number of teenagers arrested after weapons seen

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Sussex Police have confirmed an earlier report of a robbery was not correct and that a number of teenagers have been taken into custody after reports of them carrying knives was received.

Police were called to Gales Drive, Crawley, shortly before 5pm on Monday (July 13) to reports of an altercation involving a group of youths, some of whom were seen to be in possession of weapons.

Officers attended and arrested four teenagers aged between 15 and 17 and a 25-year-old man for offences including affray and possession of a bladed article in a public place.

A knife and a bat were also found by police nearby.

A witness at the scene said that they saw two individuals run out of a shop, one carrying a knife and the other carrying an axe, which led to the belief that a shop may have been robbed.

The witness who was with their young family say they had to take refuge in one of the other shops as the two seen leaving the shop ran down an alley just before they saw up to ten youths, all carrying weapons, running away.

There was a high police presence in the area earlier with more witnesses reporting seeing the police racing at speed in vehicles up and down Gales Drive and into the primary school opposite.

Anyone who saw the altercation, or may have any other relevant information about the incident, is asked to contact police online or by calling 101 quoting serial 1044 of 13/07.

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