The owner of a trendy cocktail bar in Leicester city centre has been jailed for 10 years and two months for grooming and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.
Dave Tsouvallaris, who is an award-winning barman and proprietor of 63rd & First bar in Highcross Street, was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court, today, Thursday March 11.
The 33-year-old defendant – of Kineton Road, Sutton Coldfield, in Birmingham – had pleaded guilty to the grooming and sexual assault of the youngster at an earlier hearing.
The court heard that the incident happened in Irchester Park, in Northamptonshire, on August 6, 2016, and had driven his victim to self-harm and suicide attempts, reports NorthantsLive.
Tsouvallaris was already a registered sex offender, having appeared before Birmingham Crown Court in November 2015.
There he had received a community order after pleading guilty to making indecent images of children and possessing prohibited images of children.
Judge Lucking today handed him an ‘extended’ sentence, meaning she decided he was so dangerous he would have to serve a minimum two thirds of his jail term before being eligible for parole – and would only then be released under specific conditions if it was safe to do so.
The court heard how Tsouvallaris had lied about his age – telling his latest victim that he was only 18.
He also used the alias “Dan” after initially contacting her over Instagram before they had conversations over texts.
The victim’s mother, who gave a statement to the court, said she noticed a change in her daughter during the school holidays of 2018 when she became “withdrawn” and “stayed in her bedroom most of the time”
Jonathan Dunne, prosecuting, said: “She was on her mobile phone and wouldn’t let her mum look at it before changing the passwords.
“Her mum looked at her phone when the victim was asleep on August 20 and saw text messages with a male called Dan.
“There was talk about self-harm and she felt uneasy. Her daughter said it was someone she knew and spoke to. She became quite confrontational saying that Dan cared about her.
“She told her mother he was 18 and they had met but nothing inappropriate had happened.”
For the latest local court stories and other top Leicestershire headlines straight to your inbox, you need our FREE updates.
You’ll get two, easy-to-read emails each day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – with the latest local news, plus alerts on the biggest breaking stories as they happen.
Simply click here to sign up.
Alternatively, type your email address into the ‘sign up to free daily alerts’ box at the top of this article. Click ‘subscribe’ and you’re all set.
If you don’t want the updates any more – no problem. Simply click the ‘unsubscribe’ link.
This lead the victim’s mother to notify the police, who told the girl “Dan” was a registered sex offender.
The court heard the victim “didn’t know what that meant” before admitting there had been inappropriate touching when they met up previously.
Tsouvallaris initially approached her on Instagram. They then met at Irchester Park for the day on August 6, 2018 when he picked her up in a rental car. The prosecution said that, at this point, he already knew she was 12.
Mr Dunne continued: “They were at the park for about six hours. She describes there being lots of kissing and touching, under the clothes and her underwear, to the police.
“There was no digital penetration. He asked her to touch him but she refused. He was apparently persistent and they were planning to meet again.
“The texts, given the respective ages of the two, were sexualized and inappropriate.”
In a victim impact statement, the girl revealed how she had started self-harming as a result of the abuse and had attempted suicide.
She said: “It’s wreaking havoc upon me and the whole event caused a massive effect on my mental health. I was too scared to leave my house.
“I felt disgusted with myself. I felt as though it was my fault. I bought this upon myself that I was the reason it happened. I turned to self-harm, as a way of punishing myself for this.
“I hated myself for it. I shut myself away. Nearly three years later, I’m still struggling. My mental health is still in a bad place and my self-harming is still happening.”
Sukhdev Garcha, defending, said the defendant “acknowledged the gravity” of his actions and “the pain and suffering, the family had to go through” but contested the touching was beneath her underwear.
- The UK’s only charity dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse
- They work with abusers, victims of abuse, and family members
- “We believe that child sexual abuse is preventable and that we can have a society where children are free from sexual abuse and exploitation. Our purpose is to safeguard children and young people from sexual abuse by preventing it and responding to it.”
- They run programmes for people who have been arrested, cautioned or convicted of internet offences involving indecent images of children. It costs £780 and is ran in the Midlands.
He added: “He feels bad and understands that she must feel terrible.
“From a psychological perspective, he understands why she would be confused and have trust issues, anxiety, meeting new people and self-harming.
“He acknowledges the difficulties in the stress and strain that his behaviours bought upon his own family. He has started to amend and become a changed person.
“It seems that, at the time of the offending, he was drinking in excess. He’s pulled out the use of illicit substances.”
Sentencing Tsouvallaris, Judge Lucking said the impact on the victim was “horrific” and that he had inflicted “serious psychological harm” on her.
She said: “You knew she was 12 years of age at the time that you proceeded to groom her by way of text messages and social media.
“You then carried on that activity in both collecting her in a car, taking her to a park and then touching her in a sexual manner underneath her clothing in her groin area.
“The consequences for this family have been horrendous. She was too scared to leave her house. She began to self-harm and take overdoses. The impact was horrific.
“She has continued to this day to suffer from the difficulties that were occasioned by your behaviour and your offences towards her.”
The Judge acknowledged that Tsouvallaris had previously undergone a sex offenders programme of rehabilitation after his sentence in 2015.
She added: “Less than three years later, you committed this offence. I have read the touching letter from your father, who is clearly deeply concerned for you.
“You have committed these offences, despite all of the treatment that was offered to you.
“This is an escalation of your offending against children. There was a significant disparity in age between the two.”
Judge Lucking ordered a Sexual Harm Prevention Order against Tsouvallaris that will remain in place for 10 years and two months and he will be on the Sex Offenders registers for life.