A DEPRAVED former school governor is today starting an 11-year jail sentence after being convicted of a string of sex attacks on a youngster.
Gary Mason, 52, subjected his frightened victim to numerous assaults after overpowering her.
Teesside Crown Court heard how the brave girl, who gave evidence against him, has been left mentally scarred by his disgusting crimes.
Pervert Mason, of Broad Landings, South Shields, who already had a previous conviction for downloading almost 2,000 pictures of young girls from the internet, was found guilty of four counts of sexual assault and one of assault by penetration against the girl.
He was convicted by a jury after a trial last month, and returned yesterday to be sentenced.
The court heard how Mason would use his strength to pin the girl down before sexually assaulting her.
She told the jury: “I was shouting and kicking.
“He was just a really strong man, so when I’m kicking and flinging my legs everywhere, he was pinning me down because he can do that.
“He was so strong, I couldn’t do anything about it.”
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, did not feel able to tell anyone about the abuse for some time.
She eventually revealed all to her mum, saying it had been “eating me up inside”.
In sentencing Mason, Judge Howard Crowson said: “You have abused a young woman. You have affected her life for a very long time.”
Judge Crowson said the sex attacks were part of a pattern of offending by Mason that included his viewing of child pornography.
The judge said he hoped the victim would not let Mason’s behaviour ruin her life.
Police said they will pursue any report of sex attacks.
Detective Constable Revis Phillips said: “Gary Mason had an unhealthy interest in this young girl and demonstrated his eagerness to fulfil his sexual appetite.
“Thankfully he is now serving a substantial custodial sentence and we hope the victim and family members can now move on from this dreadful period in their lives, knowing that justice has been served.
“Cleveland Police consider all such matters seriously and will pursue any complaint of this nature.
“I hope this sends a strong warning to others who prey on the vulnerability of young victims.”
Mason, formerly of the Clavering area of Hartlepool, served in Iraq after the war as a captain in the Territorial Army.
On returning home in 2007, he joined Cleveland Fire Brigade and worked as a fire investigator and arson reduction officer.
During his trial, it was revealed how he watched gruesome internet videos of people being beheaded, including one of kidnapped British engineer Ken Bigley up to 30 times, which he blamed on depression.
He also served on the board of governors at High Tunstall College of Science in Hartlepool.
But he was booted off by the school and sacked by the brigade after 1,861 vile pictures and videos of child pornography were discovered on his home computer equipment.
Mason will stay on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.