A KARATE instructor who groped two teenage girls has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Yesterday Darren Lymer was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of sexual assault.
As the verdicts were read out at Oxford Crown Court, Lymer, formerly of Anson Close, Marcham, near Abingdon, bowed his head and closed his eyes in the dock, and there were gasps from the public gallery.
Afterwards the father of the younger victim said he was happy his daughter’s abuser had been found guilty and praised her courage.
He said: “I would like to pay tribute to the incredibly courageous and brave teenagers who gave accounts of what must have been a frightening and harrowing experience.
“That is what led us to this point and I am grateful it has been rewarded by what I consider the right verdicts in this trial.
“My daughter will be happy that the experience can be drawn to a close.
“I don’t think she will find any pleasure in either the verdicts or the sentence, she’ll just be happy that an unhappy experience is over.
“Inevitably it has had an effect on everybody, but I hope the courage, bravery and resolve she has shown will help her to put the damage that has been done behind her, and move forward to a happy life.”
Lymer, 50, carried out the assault in August 2011 when he groped a teenage girl and the other offences in January last year against a younger teenage girl.
Jonathan Coode, defending, said his client still strongly maintained his innocence.
He said: “This case and these allegations have already had a very profound effect on Mr Lymer.
“Not only was he extremely ill and hospitalised as a result, but both he and his wife have moved to Devon.”
Mr Coode added that Lymer also lost his job as a delivery driver when his employer found out about the case.
Passing sentence Judge Mary Jane Mowat said: “Offences like this have a lasting effect on their victims.
“They are things that cannot be put out of their minds and can cause harm for years and years.”
DC Tom Smalley said: “This result just goes to show that Thames Valley Police takes a firm stance when it comes to sexual offences.
“We will do everything we can to prosecute those responsible and it also shows the courage of those who come forward to report sexual crimes.”
Lymer will now be on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.