March 2007


A DEPRAVED pensioner who preyed on young children has been jailed for life.

Keith Ashworth, 65, admitted acatalogue of sick offences which included one count of child rape, and two others of attempted child rape, including one against a boy under five.

The pervert even made videos of his victims’ ordeals.

As well as admitting 12 sex offences, Ashworth asked Carlisle Crown Court for a further 57 offences to be taken into consideration, some relating to his personal computer collection of 3,000 obscene images.

The OAP targeted three victims, the youngest under three years old.

Ashworth, from Manchester, had worked as a handyman and has been a regular holiday visitor to West Cumbria for the past 20 years, in recent years staying at Tarnside caravan park in Braystones.

Detectives who had to investigate Ashworth said that the case was the worst of its kind that they have ever had to deal with.

In court, Ashworth admitted one rape; two attempted rapes; three indecent assaults; two sexual assaults; two counts of making indecent photos; and one of having indecent photos.

He committed the offences between June 1994 and July 2006.

A previous charge in which Ashworth is alleged to have had sex with his pet dog was dropped due to the serious nature of the offences against children.

The court heard of the indecent images found on his computer, 274 were category four – the most serious kind, involving children being sexually abused by adults.

Judge Paul Batty QC told Ashworth: “You have admitted a catalogue of grievous crimes against youngsters. A very, very heavy sentence awaits you in respect of these offences.

They’re about as serious as I have ever seen.”

After the case, Detective Inspector Paul Smith said police are confident that they have traced all of Ashworth’s victims.

He said: “There were about eight of my staff who had to deal with the evidence and all have had mandatory professional counselling, such was the nature of the material.

“A colleague who worked in our high-tech computer department for three years dealing with this kind of material says it is the worst he has ever seen. Ashworth is a very dangerous man.

“It’s apparent from the judge’s comments that this man is going to be removed from the streets for some time.”

Ashworth, whose home address is in Longsight, Manchester, has been put on the Sex Offenders’ Register and was told that he would have to serve a minimum of 15 years.