‘He was so strong I couldn’t do anything about it’ – former Hartlepool school governor accused of sexually abusing girl

ON TRIAL ... Gary Mason, former fire brigade civilian officer is accused of sex crimes.
ON TRIAL ... Gary Mason, former fire brigade civilian officer is accused of sex crimes.

A FORMER school governor convicted of having sick images of children on his computer has gone on trial accused of sex attacks on a youngster.

His alleged victim told a court how she kicked and screamed as former governor and civilian fire brigade officer Gary Mason pinned her down and subjected her to repeated sex attacks.

Mason, who served on the board of governors at High Tunstall College of Science in Hartlepool, and who worked as an arson awareness officer for Cleveland Fire Brigade, is accused of sexually abusing the girl numerous times.

She told Teesside Crown Court how she tried to fight off well-built Mason, who also served in the Territorial Army, but he was too strong.

The 52-year-old has a previous conviction for downloading scores of sick pictures of children from the internet, the jury was told.

He now stands accused of nine sex crimes against the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Yesterday, she told the court how Mason would pin her down and touch her sexually.

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.”

She said she did not feel comfortable telling anyone about the alleged abuse at the time, but she finally told her mum as it had been “eating me up inside”.

Outlining the case to the jury, Louise Reevell, prosecuting, said the victim described how she tried to fight him off but he was physically too strong for her.

She added: “She described being frightened of him.”

The jury was told how Mason admitted 17 counts of downloading pornographic pictures of underage girls when he appeared at the crown court in February 2011.

Miss Reevell said: “The prosecution say he clearly had a sexual interest in young girls.”

Jim Withyman, defending Mason, asked if anyone had heard her shouting and screaming during the alleged abuse to which she said: “Not that I know of.”

Mr Withyman said: “What I’m saying is you were never shouting... it never happened.”

She replied: “That’s not true.”

Mr Withyman also said Mason, formerly of Sandbanks Drive, Hartlepool, had experienced three “fairly major” medical complaints around that time including when he was in plaster for six months with a broken leg and had an operation to remove his spleen and pancreas, which she had not mentioned to police.

The alleged victim said: “I’m not going to remember every single detail of every time it happened.”

Mason, now of Broad Landings, South Shields, denies six charges of sexual assault and three of assault by penetration.

The trial continues.