A PRISON governor was last night behind bars himself after he was convicted of child sex offences.
Barry Cummings, wing governor at Durham’s all female Low Newton Prison, was led down to the cells at Durham Crown Court with a warning to expect a prison sentence when he returns to learn his fate next month.
The 49-year-old divorcee was charged with four counts of intentional sexual touching of a girl under the age of 13, all said to have taken place in recent years.
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Cummings denied the four counts and the prosecution decided not to pursue one of the charges.
But the other three allegations were heard over the course of a five-day trial in which his victim gave evidence via a video link.
Prosecuting barrister Alexia Zimbler said events came to light last summer when the girl plucked up the courage to inform her mother.
When questioned, Cummings denied the allegations, but after he was charged later last year he was suspended from his job.
Cummings, who has been living at a bail address in Taylor Avenue, Bearpark, near Durham, claimed the allegations were lies probably cooked up by the girl in collusion with her mother.
But the prosecution said his claims were merely “a smokescreen”
to try to cover for what he had done.
Following little more than an hour’s deliberation the jury, reduced to ten members, returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all three counts.
Judge Christopher Prince adjourned sentence for four weeks to allow for the preparation of background reports on Cummings.
But he said that while all options would remain open, the defendant should expect a prison sentence. In the intervening period he remanded Cummings in custody.
He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register, for a duration to be determined when he is sentenced.
Speaking after the verdicts were announced, defence barrister Paul Abrahams said following the outcome of the case Cummings, who has served in several custodial establishments round the North-East, would be dismissed by the Prison Service.
He will be sentenced at the court on Friday, June 10.