December 2000

Pervert paid boy victim

A PERVERT who abused a little boy over four years — and acknowledged he had ruined his victim’s life — was today starting a three year jail term.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Michael Bedson, now 53, gave the child £2 a time and told him to keep it a secret.

The victim, now an adult, did not appreciate the defendant’s behaviour was wrong and thought what was happening to him was normal.

The defendant also exposed himself and committed a sex act on himself in front of a girl, although the court was told he did not touch her.

Bedson, who tried to take his life when the allegations came to light last year and was said to be depressed, hung his head in the dock as a judge told him child abuse was a dreadful evil.

And Judge Raymond Bennett said he wondered how much more of it there was than the courts knew about. The judge said in cases such as Bedson’s, the child did not know whether what the abuser was doing to them was normal and it was only when they became an adult that they found out to their horror it was abnormal. He went on: “Normally, every victim blames themselves but it is quite wrong.” Bedson, of New Oxford Street, Nelson, admitted two counts of indecent assault between 20 and 15 years ago and one of gross indecency and had been committed for sentence by the Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Magistrates. He had no previous convictions.

Dennis Watson, defending, said Bedson had suffered a depressive illness which stemmed from being confronted with the allegations just over a year ago. That very day, he attempted to take his own life by swallowing two sorts of pills and spent two days in hospital.

He felt shame and disgust at his previous behaviour and had most recently become withdrawn, lost his enthusiasm for the things which had interested him and suffered sleep disturbance and loss of appetite.

Mr Watson said the defendant had been prescribed sleeping pills and anti depressants and knew he had ruined his victims’ lives.

He said Bedson was in poor health and would struggle to cope with custody at his age, particularly having admitted these sorts of offences.

Mr Watson added: “The defendant’s guilt and shame is entirely genuine. He has asked me to say publicly how sorry he is and how much he regrets what he did all those years ago.”