Denise Povall: Former primary school teaching assistant jailed for eight years after sexually abusing 10-year-old boy

A former primary school teaching assistant who sexually abused a 10-year-old boy has been jailed for eight years.

Denise Povall, from Ripon, North Yorkshire, groomed her victim, giving him gifts and sending him text messages.

She had sex with the child and on a number of occasions performed sexual acts on him, North Yorkshire Police said.

The force said Povall carried out an "evil and sustained" campaign of sexual exploitation and had "taken absolutely no accountability for the damage she has done".

The offences took place in the 2000s when she worked at a school in the Harrogate area.

Povall, now aged 61, "point blank" denied the accusations throughout the investigation and during a trial at York Crown Court but was convicted.

Her victim came forward as an adult and complained to the police about what he had endured, leading to what the force described as "an extensive investigation into the teaching assistant and midday supervisor".

This led to her being charged with a number of serious offences including grooming, inciting sex with a child, inciting sexual activity with a child and sexual assault by touching.

A jury convicted her of all the charges as she was jailed for eight years on Friday and will be put on the sex offenders' register.

Outside court, Detective Constable Alison Morris, who led the investigation, said: "This has been a long and extensive investigation into some of the most serious types of offences we encounter as detectives.

"What we uncovered can only be described as evil and sustained sexual abuse of a young child by a paedophile.

"Povall has taken absolutely no accountability for the damage she has done to her victim's life, so I'm glad we've been able to help the victim secure some sort of closure."

DC Morris added: "Due to the way paedophiles such as Povall groom, manipulate and control their victims, we know child sexual abuse is under-reported.

"So I want anyone who thinks they may have been sexually assaulted - no matter how long ago it happened - to know they can come forward."