Funfair security guard slapped and groped girls’ bottoms

A fairground security guard slapped and groped the bottoms of two teenage girls in “sinister” attacks. Former doorman Paul Long worked at a temporary funfair when it came to Birkenhead Road in Seacombe. But the “large and physically imposing” 59-year-old preyed on two children in separate incidents on the same evening.

He slapped the bottom of a 15-year-old girl while giving her first aid, then laughed in her face and followed after her. Liverpool Crown Court heard he then trapped a second girl, 14, on a Waltzer ride and grabbed her bottom, before squaring up to her dad when he arrived. Long was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault after a trial, when the girls had to go through the ordeal of giving evidence and reliving the attacks.

Judge Brian Cummings, QC, today said the factual basis upon which he would sentence Long was “one I am myself sure of, having heard the evidence”. He said Long “took advantage” of the access to children he had as a funfair security guard to commit the crimes. Judge Cummings added: “I also note that you are a large and physically imposing man.”

Long, now 61, of Huddleston Close, Woodchurch, Birkenhead, struck twice on Thursday, March 28, 2019. Judge Cummings said the first girl “cut her foot quite badly getting off one of the rides” and was told to go and see Long, who she asked for a plaster. The cut continued to bleed so she went back for a second plaster, this time alone, when she accepted Long’s offer to help by putting it on her foot.

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The judge said: “You then slapped her on the bottom and started laughing.”

The girl walked back to a group of friends, but Long followed after her, stopping if she looked at him, and only left when she reached her friends. Judge Cummings said: “It was rather sinister.” The second girl went on the Waltzers with her male cousin, but when they sat down in a car, Long got in and sat between them for no apparent reason.

Judge Cummings said she felt “uncomfortable” and wanted to get off, but he wouldn’t let her and the ride started. The judge told Long she was “struggling to breathe and nearly started crying”, but he asked her age and when she said 14, “you expressed surprise and said you would kiss her if she were older”. The pervert asked if she wanted him to kiss her before grabbing her bottom, when her cousin saw she was crying.

Long held a safety bar down “to prevent her getting away” – during which time the judge said she was “trapped in” – but the girl managed to squeeze out and the two children ran off. “Very upset and hyperventilating”, she called her dad, who drove immediately to the fair. Judge Cummings said: “You approached in an aggressive manner.

You had the effrontery to get in his face so to speak and push him back.” The judge said “surprisingly” Long didn’t face a separate charge over that “physical confrontation”, but it was an aggravating feature. He said: “It highlights, I’m afraid, your complete absence of remorse.”

Judge Cummings said Long denied any wrongdoing in his police interviews and at trial. He told him: “You said the witnesses were all lying. They weren’t – you were.”

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David Birrell, prosecuting, said the girls described the impact of the attacks in video interviews in the autumn of 2019. The first girl said she had “pushed it to the back of her mind”.

However, she said: “I do get a bit wary when I’m walking around, when I’m on my own. I’ll have people walk me home.” The second girl said the attack made her feel “crap”, adding: “I don’t like going out.

I go out with my mum and dad, but I have only been out twice.” Long has 10 previous convictions for 13 offences, mainly for dishonesty in his youth.

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He was last convicted in January 2017 of causing death by careless driving, when he had tried to help a drunk man. Long pulled over after seeing Aso Azzizi collapsed outside The Crown pub in Birkenhead, at around 2am, on January 31, 2015.

He checked the 30-year-old was okay, who started walking off down Conway Street, and got back in his Ford Mondeo, parked on the other side of the road. Long decided to do a U-turn, but “didn’t look properly” in his mirrors to check it was safe and failed to indicate. Renault Megane driver Kieran Platt – speeding at around 60mph in the 30mph zone – came up behind and clipped the front of the Mondeo.

The impact sent the Megane spinning to the opposite side of the road, where it hit Mr Azzizi, throwing him into metal railings.

Paul Long, then 56, when he was convicted of causing death by careless driving

Platt, then 21, from Prenton, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for four years. Long received a community order with unpaid work for the lesser offence. John Weate, defending, said that case had “a lasting effect” on Long.

He told the court his client continued to deny the sex attacks. Mr Weate said there were “troubles” in Long’s family background, which led to his offending as a youth. He said Long then worked until 2017 without any convictions and as part of his job in the security industry, stopped many illegal activities.

The lawyer said: “He’s a man who can become very emotional at times.

Funfair security guard slapped and groped girls' bottomsPaul Long, 61, of Huddlestone Close, Woodchurch, Birkenhead

“He’s suffered difficulties through the break-up of relationships, there’s been estrangements from his children, who are now adults, albeit he has a close and loving relationship with one of his sons.” Mr Weate said despite “strain” on his current relationship of nearly a decade, his partner had remained “supportive”. He said Long was considered a “low risk of further offences” and argued it would be of benefit to society if he was rehabilitated, rather than jailed.

Judge Cumming said there was a “breach of trust” as Long’s job was to ensure the safety of visitors to the fair.

Stories from Liverpool Crown Court

He said he was “the very person that the victims in this case should have been able to turn to if sexually assaulted in the fairground, not the person committing these assaults”. The judge jailed Long for eight months, who looked at his girlfriend in the public gallery and shook his head. Long must sign the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

Anyone with information or wants to report sexual offence allegation is asked to call 101 where you will be spoken to by specially trained officers or you can pass information to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Support for victims is also available through the registered charity the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre Cheshire and Merseyside, who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063, or Rape and Sexual Assault Merseyside (RASA) on 0151 558 1801.

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