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Man who groomed and sexually assaulted boy spared jail

Nicholas Henshall, from Macclesfield, was found guilty of sexual assault of a child after a trial

A man who groomed a young boy before sexually assaulting him has been spared jail.

Nicholas Henshall, 44, denied sexual assault of a child but was found guilty after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

After the incident, the boy’s mother started noticing him showing ‘behavioural difficulties’, the court heard.

Henshall, of Hawthorn Way, Macclesfield, was sentenced to 20 months in prison suspended for two years, a six month curfew and ordered to complete a sex offenders treatment programme.

Sentencing Judge Elizabeth Nicholls told Henshall she ‘could have easily’ sent him to prison but custody would not help tackle his behaviour.

She said: “It is clear you were grooming him to abuse him.

“You seized the opportunity when it was presented to you.

“Although it is one single offence it is serious.”

The court heard that in 2015 Henshall was jailed for three years after admitting to indecently assaulting a boy, one charge of possessing indecent images and nine counts of making indecent images.

At the latest hearing, Judge Nicholls said: “Had you stood before me with no convictions I would have sent you to prison but these offences predate the substantial sentence you served before. Prison would not help you or protect the public.”

Maria Marcellus, defending Henshall, a former photographer who works in his family’s business, said: “Because he still denies culpability for this offence it would serve society and the defendant greater if he was given a sex offender treatment programme rather than prison.

“It may seem lenient but it wouldn’t be.

“He will do whatever the court wants to avoid going to prison again.”

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