Girl left suicidal after paedophile assaulted her at Irchester Country Park
The girl was targeted by the 31-year-old on Instagram
A convicted paedophile groomed a young girl on social media then met up with her at a country park before sexually assaulting her.
Northampton Crown Court heard today (Thursday, March 11) that bar owner Dave Tsouvallaris, now 33, targeted the 12-year-old on Instagram before sending her messages asking to meet. He drove from his home in Kineton Road, Sutton Coldfield, to meet her at Irchester Country Park where he spent six hours with her.
The court was told that while at the park, Tsouvallaris sexually assaulted her.
The girl's mum noticed her daughter becoming withdrawn in the summer of August 2018, when the offences happened, and checked her phone. Horrified, she discovered messages from the defendant and called. He claimed to be an 18-year-old man called Dan.
Prosecuting barrister Jonathan Dunn said that the girl had started becoming secretive with her phone and spending a lot of time in her room.
He said: "She confronted her daughter and she became quite confrontational, saying Dan cared about her. She said Dan was 18 and that they'd met. She was adamant nothing had happened."
In interview, the victim told police that she had informed Tsouvallaris she was only 12 when he had approached her on Instagram. He told her he was 18 and she eventually gave him her number.
He then travelled to the area and drove her to Irchester Country Park where he assaulted her. They had planned to meet again before her mother discovered what was going on.
Her mother gave a moving statement to the court and a statement from the victim was read out.
She said she had been left hating herself. "I got to a point where I told myself I didn't deserve to live," she said.
"I shut myself away.
"I still tell myself every day that it was my fault."
The defendant, who was 31 at the time of the offences, recently opened a bar in Leicester. He is already a convicted sex offender who pleaded guilty to six offences of making indecent images at Birmingham Crown Court in 2015. He was given a community penalty for those offences, placed on the sex offenders' register and was subject to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.
He appeared before Northampton Magistrates in November 2019 where he initially denied two charges of sexual touching but then admitted them before his trial was due to take place.
In mitigation, he told the court that he 'feels bad' and acknowledged the harm that had been caused to his victim.
Sentencing Tsouvallaris, Judge Lucking said: "The impact has been little short of horrific.
"I've no difficulty in concluding that there was serious psychological harm inflicted on the child.
"This is an escalation of your offending against children."
Judge Lucking told the court that she believed Tsouvallaris to be a dangerous offender who posed a substantial risk of serious harm. She imposed an extended determinate sentence of ten years and two months. He will serve six years and two months of that behind bars but a parole board will decide if he is fit for release after he has served two thirds of the custodial element of the sentence. The remaining four years will be spent on licence in the community.
He was placed on the sex offenders' register for life.