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Man jailed for sexual assault

23 Aug 2021

A man from Shefford was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to the sexual assault of a young girl and possession of indecent images.

Justin Sandilands, 43, of Church Street, Shefford, was jailed at Luton Crown Court for a child sexual offence dating back to 2019 on Monday (16 August).

The victim disclosed the offence to a family member, who then informed the police. Upon his arrest a number of digital devices were seized which were then examined by Bedfordshire Police's Digital Forensic Unit.

After the content of these devices was reviewed by investigators, thousands of indecent images of children and extreme pornography were discovered.

Sandilands was sentenced to 42 months for one count of sexual assault, and was also sentenced to further six months for possession of indecent images offences.

Investigating Officer Michela Zasada, from the force's Internet Child Abuse Investigation Team (ICAIT), said: “Sandilands not only actively looked for and downloaded thousands of images of children, he also assaulted a young girl for his own sexual gratification.

“I applaud the courage of the victim who came forward and supported our investigation which resulted in Sandilands being brought to justice. He will now spend time behind bars where he will be unable to cause any more harm.”

If you have concerns about child sexual abuse, or you have been a victim, please report it to Bedfordshire Police on 101.

Parents can visit the Parents Protect website which is run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, for lots of useful resources to help prevent child sexual abuse.

You can also visit the NSPCC website has a wealth of information on how to teach your child about staying safe from sexual abuse, including the PANTS underwear rule:

P – Privates are private

A – Always remember your body belongs to you

N – No means no

T – Talk about secrets that upset you

S – Speak up, someone can help

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