September 2009

Freed sex offender Goodrum struck weeks later

A SEX offender stalked and abused a teenage girl only weeks after walking free from Court for a similar attack on an older victim.

Twenty-two-year-old Ross Goodrum again escaped an immediate prison sentence, yesterday, as Durham Crown Court heard he had spent more than seven months in custody since his arrest for the latest offence.

But, it will now enable him to undergo a probation-supervised sex offender treatment programme to address his problems.

Goodrum received a 52- week prison sentence, suspended for two years, for sexual assault on a woman in her early 20s on December 15 last year.

But, on January 29, he was waiting as a teenage girl left a friend’s home at 8.45pm.

Jane Foley, prosecuting, said the girl previously saw him at a bus station and he had approached her several times asking for the time.

Although she went to a town centre store toilet, Goodrum was waiting when she left and followed as she made her way to a bus station.

Miss Foley said as the girl walked through an underpass Goodrum approached, asking for a light.

As she delved in her bag, he grabbed her mobile phone and tapped in his own number.

He then grabbed the girl and sexually touched her, despite her repeated requests for him to stop.

Miss Foley said Goodrum also kissed her.

She managed to break free, fleeing to waiting friends.

Miss Foley added that as a result of the incident the girl was frightened to go out alone.

Goodrum, of Smailes Street, Stanley, who was arrested after the incident, admitted sexual activity with a child.

Ruth Phillips, mitigating, said Goodrum believed the girl to be older than she was.

He had seen her a few days before the incident, speaking briefly to her, and felt she was “friendly” in response.

“On this occasion he had a couple of cans of lager and smoked cannabis, saw her, struck up conversation and misread the signals when they weren’t there,” said Ms Phillips.

Judge Richard Lowden said, given that Goodrum has spent 206 days in custody, the intense sex offender programme would now be “the best course”. It will be part of three years’ supervision, while Goodrum is also subject to a sexual offences prevention order, restricting his contact with females under 16, and must sign the sex offenders’ register, both for life.