'Evil' teaching assistant who groomed and sexually abused boy, 10, jailed for eight years

9 June 2024, 08:39

Denise Povall
Denise Povall. Picture: North Yorkshire Police

By Emma Soteriou

An 'evil' teaching assistant who groomed and sexually abused a 10-year-old boy has been jailed for eight years.

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Denise Povall, from Ripon, North Yorkshire, groomed her victim with presents and sent him texts so she could carry out her campaign of abuse.

The detective who led the investigation described her sustained offending as "evil".

Povall had sexual intercourse with the child and performed sex acts on a number of occasions, North Yorkshire Police said after she was sentenced.

The offences took place in the 2000s when she worked at a school in the Harrogate area.

Povall, who is now 61, continued to deny any offending but was convicted following a trial at York Crown Court.

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Her victim came forward as an adult and complained to the police about what he endured as a primary school pupil.

It led to what police called "an extensive investigation into the teaching assistant and midday supervisor".

Povall was charged with a number of serious offences including grooming, inciting sex with a child, inciting sexual activity with a child and sexual assault by touching.

A jury convicted her of all the charges.

Povall was jailed for eight years on Friday and will sign the sex offenders' register when she is released.

Speaking outside court, Detective Constable Alison Morris, who led the investigation, said: "This has been a long and extensive investigation into some of the most serious types of offences we encounter as detectives.

"What we uncovered can only be described as evil and sustained sexual abuse of a young child by a paedophile.

"Povall has taken absolutely no accountability for the damage she has done to her victim's life, so I'm glad we've been able to help the victim secure some sort of closure.

"He's been incredibly brave coming forward, especially given the common misconception that women don't commit these sorts of crimes."

DC Morris added: "Due to the way paedophiles such as Povall groom, manipulate and control their victims, we know child sexual abuse is under-reported.

"So I want anyone who thinks they may have been sexually assaulted - no matter how long ago it happened - to know they can come forward."

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