A man who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl a short time after he was released from jail has been sentenced to return to prison.
Richard John Chamberlain, 39, was jailed for two years and four months when he appeared in the Christchurch District Court yesterday.
Chamberlain had cooked himself a meal late one night after a drinking session before going into the room where the girl was sleeping and penetrating her with his fingers.
Judge Jane Farish said the attack woke the girl and Chamberlain left the room.
When he returned to the room and put his hand under the bedclothes again, the girl screamed and woke the household, and when he ran outside, an occupant of the house punched him.
Police found him hiding in a yard nearby.
Chamberlain pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful sexual connection and being unlawfully in a yard.
Defence counsel Richard Peters said Chamberlain had written a letter of apology to the victim but he did not expect it would be well received.
Judge Farish said the victim had been entitled to feel safe in her own home.
Her victim impact statement indicated the offence had been something of a "trigger" and she now had significant issues about trusting males and was feeling despondent about her future.
"As the report writer indicates, she is in desperate need of some positive role models in her life," the judge said.
Chamberlain had caused the girl significant harm, but he could not be blamed for all the problems she faced.