Pensioner who sexually assaulted South Ribble schoolgirl jailed

Preston Crown Court.
Preston Crown Court.
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A pensioner who abused a South Ribble teenager has been jailed for five years after pleading guilty to a string of sickening sex offences.

David Hodgson, 73, shook in the dock at Preston Crown Court as details of the offences were recounted in court.

It is apparent you committed these offences on a regular basis and you did so in circumstances in which you groomed and took advantage of a young child.

Judge Philip Sycamore

His victim was just nine years old when Hodgson started abusing her.

The abuse continued until the girl was 14 years old but it was not until the summer of 2013 that she felt able to report what had happened to her.

Hodgson was arrested and ordered to stay out of the area, being bailed to an address in England Avenue, Blackburn.

He pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual assault relating to the girl.

Judge Philip Sycamore, sentencing, said: “It is apparent you committed these offences on a regular basis and you did so in circumstances in which you groomed and took advantage of a young child.

“There was targeting of a young child over a lengthy period of time.”

The court heard Hodgson has a number of physical and mental illnesses and since his arrest has spent time as an in patient on a psychiatric ward.

Judge Sycamore said: “I have read your report and I am aware of your health problems and your previous good work record. I have also noted that to some extent you minimise your responsibility for the offending.

“The courts have made it very clear on many occasions that this type of offending is so serious that only a lengthy period of imprisonment is justified, not only to punish the individual but to deter others and afford protection to the public.”

He handed Hodgson a prison sentence of five years and four months and placed him on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely.

He also made a sexual harm prevention order which bans Hodgson from having unsupervised contact with any girl under 16 for five years.