‘Expect jail’ – judge’s message to former Hartlepool school governor found guilty of sex attacks on girl

FACING JAIL ... Gary Mason.
FACING JAIL ... Gary Mason.

A DEPRAVED former school governor is facing jail after being convicted of a string of sickening sex attacks on a girl.

Former Territorial Army captain Gary Mason, 52, sexually abused the frightened youngster several times after overpowering her, Teesside Crown Court was told.

The pervert already had previous convictions for downloading almost 2,000 sick pictures of young girls from the internet, for which he was spared jail in February 2011.

But he was yesterday warned by a judge that he faces being sent to prison after he was found guilty of four counts of sexual assault and one of assault by penetration.

Judge Howard Crowson adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report, telling Mason: “Obviously these sorts of offences usually merit custody and I don’t see any reason why not at the moment I’m afraid.

“But the report will help me to decide that if that is the case.”

The jury heard from Mason’s young victim, who cannot be identified, that he would use his strength to pin her down and sexually assault her.

She said: “I was shouting and kicking. He was just a really strong man so when I’m kicking and flinging my legs everywhere he was pinning me down because he can do that.

“He was so strong I couldn’t do anything about it.”

The victim did not feel able to tell anyone about the abuse for sometime until eventaully revealing all to her mum saying it had been “eating me up inside”.

On returning from Army operations in Iraq in 2007, Mason worked for Cleveland Fire Brigade as a fire investigator and arson reduction officer.

He also served on the board of governors at High Tunstall College of Science in Hartlepool.

But he was booted off by the school and sacked by the brigade after 1,861 vile pictures and videos of child pornography were discovered on his home computer equipment.

During this week’s trial, he still claimed he was not attracted to children, blaming it on depression.

Mason also revealed during his own defence that he watched gruesome internet videos of people being beheaded, including one of kidnapped British engineer Ken Bigley up to 30 times.

Jim Withyman, defending, asked for an adjournment before Mason is sentenced for a report by the probation service.

Mr Withyman said: “He will be aware of the likely sentence in this case but it would give him an opportunity to deal with his affairs.”

Mason, now of Broad Landings, South Shields, was granted bail and will be sentenced on January 10, next year.