Couple found guilty on 18 charges of sex attacks on children in Northamptonshire

A couple accused of sex attacks against children while they lived in Northamptonshire have been found guilty on 18 of the 19 charges they faced following a week-long trial.

Wednesday, 2nd November 2016, 8:12 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:51 pm
Gavin Kennedy and Jessica Stone have been found guilty on 18 of 19 charges

Gavin Kennedy and partner Jessica Stone, from Northamptonshire, worked together in sexually assaulting children and forcing them to commit lewd acts.

During a lengthy trial at Northampton Crown Court, prosecutor Nicola Moore, said on Monday October 31 that Kennedy had been the initial instigator for the acts, which she claimed sprang from a taste in extreme pornography and a “voracious sexual appetite”.

“He dragged his co-defendant Miss Stone into it,” she added in her closing arguments yesterday. “She took part in it. She was someone who had a chequered history with men in her life.”

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Miss Moore said the similarities between terms investigators discovered in Kennedy’s internet search history and the acts described by the child victims were so close they could not be a coincidence.

He searched for pornography using phrases such as “barely legal”, “very young girls” and “jailbait” - a coarse term referring to children under the age of sexual consent.

She said: “There is no doubt, the prosecution say, that this is a man who would do anything for sex and the thrill.

“But this is a man who has gone from fantasy into reality.

“A man who has stepped over that line and since he stepped over the line his sexual boundaries simply became wider and wider.”

Defending for Kennedy, Matthew Kirk, said there was, in fact, little similarity between the testimonies of the alleged victims.

Though police did find searches for extreme pornography on Kennedy’s computer, there were no downloaded files on the device.

“There aren’t any indecent images of children on the computer,” Mr Kirk, said. “There are none on that entire hard drive, despite a wealth of other pornographic material.”

He added: “We know that simple deletion will not remove such things from the eyes of the forensic examiner.”

In the witness stand on Friday October 30, Kennedy claimed the internet searches related only to adults and Mr Kirk argued that all of them could be could be construed as “ambiguous”.

For Stone, Maxine Krone said the evidence against the defendant was not strong enough for the jurors to be certain of her guilt.

She said: “The prosecution paint her as a supporting her partner to some extent.

“We cannot come to the conclusion that this evidence is so overwhelming.”

A jury cleared defendant Kennedy on one count of sexual activity with a child under 13.

The pair have been released on continuing bail to appear in court again on December 12 for sentencing.

Recorder Ashworth QC told the court that the couple should have “no unsupervised contact with any persons under 18 unless avoidable in every day life” while they are on bail.

The case will resume once a pre-sentence report has been completed on the “dangerousness of the case”.