Man jailed for sexual offences - Borehamwood

14/11/2014

A middle-aged fashion consultant who molested a teenager on several occasions and sexually assaulted her in his car was jailed for 5 years today, Friday, 14 November 2014.

Mark Sunshine, aged 50, from Borehamwood, groped the girl on several occasions when he gave her driving lessons and carried out a sex assault on her after he picked her up in a drunken state from a party.

Prosecutor Barnaby Shaw told St Albans Crown Court that the victim is now aged 21 and made a complaint to the police about the man's behaviour last year. She said Mr Sunshine had engaged in telephone banter with her and on one occasion sent her an intimate image of himself over the phone. He was to tell the police it was not him and was a picture he found on Google.

Sunshine said he had sent her the image after he had received a photo of her wearing underwear. Among sexualised conversations it was alleged that he asked her how she would feel if he booked a hotel bedroom for them.

The woman said Sunshine would put his hand on her leg if his wife was not around and would slap her on her bottom.

Mr Shaw told the jury of 6 women and 6 men that he offered to give the teenager driving lessons. "When she was in the car he would put his hand down her top and grope her while she was trying to drive," he said.

She got drunk at a friend's birthday party and he was asked to take her home. On the way it is alleged he stopped and put his hand up her dress, with the teenager being so drunk she couldn't stop him.

At a trial last month, Sunshine, of Furzehill Road, Borehamwood, denied two sample charges of sexual assault between October 2009 and October 2010. He also pleaded not guilty to assault by penetration between 31 January 2011 and 1 March 2011. He was convicted by the jury of all charges after 5 hours and 33 minutes of deliberations. He was remanded in custody to Bedford jail and appeared for sentence today.

He said he had never sexually assaulted the teenager and denied that there had been any consensual relationship. He said he had given her driving lessons, but he had never fondled her. After the party he said he had not touched her, but that she was drunk and tried to put her hand between his legs. He said he was not attracted to her.

Dee Connolly, defending, said Sunshine still did not accept the offences. She said he was a "good, hard-working family man," who was supported in court by his wife and other members of his family. "The stigma of this conviction will shape his future. He has lost his job. He is a broken man and his reputation is ruined. He is on the segregation wing at Bedford prison and is finding it difficult and has been placed on anti-depressants," she said.

Judge Stephen Warner told him: "When she complained, you belittled her and persisted. You showed a total disregard for her wishes and intentions." He told Sunshine: "You showed a lack of insight and remorse and you see yourself as the victim."

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