A PAEDOPHILE who sexually abused the daughter of a woman he met in an internet chat room has been jailed for six years.

Gary Dawson began a series of sex assaults by attacking the young girl on a seaside trip in which he stayed in his parents caravan.

Teesside Crown Court heard that after his arrest, the 46-year-old vanished, leaving a suicide note.

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Police found him on a beach in Marske, east Cleveland, after what Nigel Soppitt, mitigating, said was a realistic attempt to take his life.

Dawson admitted four counts of sexually assaulting a child under 13.

Prosecutor Shaun Dodds said the first attack happened in a caravan at Saltburn.

Mr Dodds said Dawson undressed the girl in the living room area put a finger over her mouth before sexually assaulting her.

“The victim said this became a routine and she was scared to tell her mam,” he said.

Some years later the victim did tell her mother what had happened.

Dawson initially claimed the girl touched him first, before admitting he was at fault.

Mr Soppitt said Dawson, of Broadwell Road, Middlesbrough, was a lonely man living his life on the internet.

“He accepts what he has done, is deeply ashamed and wants to start his sentence as soon as possible.”

Recorder Toby Hedworth said the abuse had very profound long term effects on both the victim and her mother.

Dawson was jailed for six years in total and will be subject to a sexual offences prevention order and must register as a sex offender for life.

Speaking afterwards, the mother of his young victim branded him a “coward” and said she remains angry and bitter.

The woman told The Northern Echo: “I hate him and hate what he has done to my daughter. It is good that he has been jailed for six years, but he should have got more."

The girl now finds it difficult to concentrate on her studies and was referred to a child psychologist.

her mother added: “She is trying to put a brave face on, but she will sometimes cry and get angry about what happened.

“She kept this under wraps for years and she then just blurted it out.”

Dawson attempted to take his own life after vanishing on the day of his trial, but the woman said killing himself would have been too good for him.

“I wanted him to face the public and the court for who he is because that is the only way I would get justice for my daughter,” she said.

“I don't think I will ever move on from this. This is my baby girl."