A FORMER teacher approached a young girl in a shop and groped her and left her traumatised.

Minshull Street Crown Court heard Ian Hamilton, who previously lost his teaching job after being convicted of harassing two teen girls, struck at a Spar store in Whitefield.

The girl, aged 12 at the time, noticed Hamilton following her around the shop.

David Bentley, prosecuting, said: “She felt he would not stop looking at her. She walked into the sweets aisle, he walked behind her.

“He touched her bottom, she describes being up against the wall and paralysed with fear.”

Hamilton went on to talk to her, asking about nearby takeaways.

Shop staff noticed the fearful girl and her mother phoned her and noticed her distress.

They reported the matter to police and Hamilton was traced as he had withdrawn cash at the store.

Judge Anna Vigars QC summarised a victim impact statement from the young girl and her mother.

It said there has been a “profound effect” on the young girl, who has needed support from mental health services and had considered self harm.

Hamilton, of Thornham Close, Bury, was found guilty at a trial of the sexual assault of a child under the age of 13.

Richard English, defending, said there had been 15 years since his last conviction for harassment.

He added: “This conviction has caused great turmoil and strife on his family, particularly on his relationship. He attended university and worked as a teacher. He resigned following his conviction.

“There was an extreme delay between him being arrested and being charged, which hasn’t been explained.”

Mr English said his client had not been in trouble since his arrest in January 2019.

Judge Vigars said she accepted his offending was “not an escalating pattern of behaviour.”

She imposed a two-year community order, with 200 hours of unpaid work, and10 rehabilitation activity days.

Hamilton, 57, was also placed on the sex offenders register.

The judge told him: “This may have been a touch which may have lasted a second, it may have been over clothing and on the buttocks, not the breast or genitals, but I hope you understand how seriously it has been taken.”