A serial paedophile has been locked up indefinitely after being convicted of child sex offences for a third time.
Dangerous sex offender Steven Hatchell, 43, was convicted of a seven counts of sexual assault against a young girl aged under 13, over a period of months.
Recorder of Preston Judge Anthony Russell QC, said Hatchell posed a significant risk to the public and ordered he remain behind bars for a minimum of three years and 187 days before he is eligible to apply for parole.
However the parole board must be satisfied he is no longer a danger before he can be released from prison.
Judge Russell said: “This was serious sexual abuse carried out over a number of months. I must regard this as a serious breach of trust.”
The court heard Hatchell put pressure on his victim to keep the abuse secret.
During the trial at Preston Crown Court, the youngster said she felt able to come forward as Hatchell was serving a prison sentence for an offence committed in Preston..
Judge Russell said: “This is not the first time you have been brought before the court for sexually abusing children.
“The fact you have now been convicted on three separate occasions of sexual offences against children is the most compelling fact which drives me to this conclusion.
“For the protection of the public and and in particular young children you should be imprisoned indefinitely.”
The court heard Hatchell has separate previous convictions for abusing a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Hilary Manley, defending, said Hatchell, of no fixed address, did not accept the jury’s verdict and disputed some of the contents of the victim’s personal statement.
Hatchell will be on the Sex Offenders Register for life.