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A Manchester man, who is already a registered sex offender, has been jailed for sexually assaulting 2 children.
29-year-old Darren Sutherland, of Slade Mount in Levenshulme, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and two counts of battery at an earlier hearing.
Today, 10 January 2012, he was sentenced to 32 months in prison, ordered to sign the Sex Offender's Register indefinitely and given a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
On Sunday 18 September 2011, a group of four girls aged seven; nine, 10 and 11 were playing together on the Hough End playing fields.
One of the girls got stuck in the mud, at which point Sutherland offered to help, lifting the girl to safety. The girls said thank you, but Sutherland stayed and sat down to drink beer.
Feeling uneasy at his presence, the girls started to walk away, but Sutherland followed them and sexually assaulted the seven and nine-year-old.
The girls managed to break free and ran towards their other two friends to tell them what had happened. All four girls got onto their bicycles and rode off. The 10 and 11-year-old girls cycled to another park, but Sutherland followed them on his own bike and approached them, demanding money.
He then pushed the 11-year-old girl in the chest, causing her to fall backwards into her friend and both fell to the ground, suffering slight cuts and bruising.
The girls got up and cycled off. During this time, the other two younger girls told their parents what happened. Family went out to find Sutherland, and flagged down the police officer and directed him to Sutherland, where he was arrested.
Inquiries later established Sutherland was a registered sex offender.
Detective Constable Lee Fisher said: "Sutherland was a registered sex offender who not only assaulted two young children, but also pushed their friends over in anger.
"While he was drunk, neither this nor anything can excuse sexually assaulting and frightening a group of young girls and quite rightly he has been jailed.
"I would like to praise the courage of the young girls in coming forward so quickly and telling their parents. Despite what had happened to them, they had the presence of mind to speak up immediately which allowed officers to get to the scene straight away so the family could positively identify Sutherland before he could escape.
"The officers involved in this investigation worked very hard to secure evidence against Sutherland, leaving him no choice but to admit what he had done.
"I would like to take this opportunity to stress that if anyone is approached by a stranger and either made to feel uncomfortable or sexually assaulted, that they follow the girl's brave example and call police immediately so we can take swift action."