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Brave High Peak sex assault victim speaks out after attacker jailed

The new youth club launches on Monday April 16.
The new youth club launches on Monday April 16.

A man who was sexually assaulted seven years ago says he feels like a weight has been lifted now his attacker is finally behind bars.

Mark Evans, who has waived his right to anonymity, said he was a volunteer at New Mills Art Theatre back in 2010 when he befriended fellow helper Keith Robinson who went on to assault him.

Keith Robinson. Photo by Derbyshire Police.

Keith Robinson. Photo by Derbyshire Police.

Despite a police investigation at the time, no charges were brought - and Robinson later went on to sexually assault a second victim in 2015.

At Manchester Crown Court last month, Robinson, 44, of Torrs Valley, New Mills, pleaded guilty to the two charges of sexual assault five years apart and was sentenced to a total of three years and six months in prison. He must also sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

Mark, who was aged just 18 when he was targeted by Robinson in October 2010, said: “I told people what happened and I went to the relevant authorities, but people dismissed me.

“He portrayed himself as a pillar of the community, people trusted him. My dad even welcomed him into our family home because he gave off an air of trustworthiness, but he has duped a town.

“He is in fact a predator who has sexually assaulted two people.

“Knowing he has been sentenced now, I feel liberated, like a weight has come off my shoulders.”

Derbyshire police confirmed Robinson had pleaded guilty to the two separate counts of sexual assault.

The October 2010 incident happened at Mark’s home on High Hill Road in New Mills, after he had met Robinson for a drink.

“Due to the bad weather he (Robinson) asked if he could stay the night rather than walk home in the rain,” the police spokesperson said.

“A bed was made up in a spare room by the victim’s father, but Robinson went into the victim’s room and started touching him and sexually assaulted him.”

Mark said: “After the assault I went into a depression and struggled to trust people.

“I saw my GP and received counselling which did make it better, but I was living in a small town and knew I would have to see him over and over again.”

Now aged 25, Mark lives with his partner Rachel in Southampton, where he works as a nurse.

“I’ve moved on now and I’m in a much happier place mentally, but the torment lived with me for a while as I couldn’t get people to believe me or take my claims seriously,” he added.

“To have him plead guilty means he knows he was in the wrong with what he did, that this did happen and that I didn’t make it up.

“It has been tough because he was still allowed to work at the theatre after he attacked me until he did it again five years later, which made me feel like what I said didn’t matter.”

A spokesperson for New Mills Art Theatre said: “We take our safeguarding responsibilities very seriously.

“When a police investigation found in 2010 that there was no case to answer, we reinstated Keith Robinson in good faith as a volunteer at the theatre, where he worked until 2015.

“He left the theatre as soon as this separate allegation came to light and he has not worked for us in any capacity since.”

Commenting on the initial 2010 allegation, a spokesperson for Derbyshire police said: “We investigated this fully when it was first reported to us in 2010.

“There was insufficient evidence to take the case to the Crown Prosecution Service at that time.

“This does not mean that we didn’t take this matter seriously, we did, and there was a thorough investigation.

“However when a later allegation was made, the case was reviewed and due to the similarities between the two, it was then progressed to court.

“We take all allegations seriously and will always investigate the circumstances fully.”