Preston man who sexually abused two young girls told them they 'would not be believed'

A former milkman who sexually abused two girls has been jailed for 35 months.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 3:45 pm

John Wilkinson, 53, of Grizedale Close, Ribbleton, Preston, will also be subject to notification requirements for the rest of his life, barred from working with children and will be subject to the terms of a sexual harm prevention order for 15 years.

Wilkinson admitted 10 indecent assault charges which related to two victims, dating back as far as the 1980s, and a further two charges were ordered to lie on the file.

Julian Taylor, prosecuting, told Preston's Sessions House Court how on occasions with his first victim, Wilkinson would "flip a coin" and however it landed would determine what he asked her to do.

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He said: "When she reached the age of 12 the defendant started taking an interest in her sexual development.

"He would ask her to show her breasts and bottom and make comments about them.

"Clearly it's a matter of grooming and its regular conduct."

He told the court the girl would refuse but that he became persistent and would regularly assault her.

If she threatened to tell anyone he would tell her she would not be believed.

Wilkinson also abused a vulnerable 16-year-old girl in a similar manner, requesting she show him parts of her body.

He also wrote a note to her asking her to have sex.

The defendant was interviewed three times in 2016 and 2017 and denied all the allegations.

In a victim impact statement, summarised by the prosecutor, the first girl said since he entered his pleas she had "mixed feelings" of relief she did not have to give evidence but felt Wilkinson still was "not taking responsibility for all that he has done" and that he was "just saving his own skin."

She added: "It's fair to say at the moment I'm outraged."

The second victim said his offending "had a massive impact" on her, triggering an ongoing battle with anxiety and depression, and that when she learned about the other girl's allegations she "was heartbroken and felt like a victim twice over".

She added: "I genuinely believe he's got no remorse.

"The effect will be everlasting."

In a pre sentence report (PSR), Wilkinon dismissed his behaviour, told the probation officer his pleas were for "tactical reasons" and referred to one incident as a "misunderstood joke."

Shirlie Duckworth, defending, said a long time had passed since the commission of the offences and his denials and become "more and more entrenched"

She said his pleas had exacerbated his anxiety and depression.

She said: "I'm instructed to say he is extremely sorry for what he did and he wishes that to be said to the victim.

"I must accept the defendant still minimised his behaviour and failed in the PSR to fully take responsibility for his behaviour.

"I can tell the court however that making the admissions that he now has, acknowledging remorse, admitting out loud to the author of the PSR and during his guilty plea has been extremely difficult for the defendant.

"When I address the court about the impact of these proceedings on the def and the sentence that will follow, the court will be aware I do not seek to undermine the harm that has been caused to the victims, but of course it is my duty on behalf of the defendant to acknowledge the impact of a custodial sentence upon him."

The Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Robert Altham acknowledged the victims "heartbreaking accounts" of the effects of the abuse.

He said: "He protests remorse through his counsel today but I regret that is not reflected in the report.

"None of this speaks of genuine heartfelt remorse."

He added that "people should understand the far reaching effects when they choose to place their hands" on a child.

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