March 2011

Darwen sex case prisoner to launch legal challenge

A MAN jailed for 15 years for a string of paedophile offences has succeeded in the first stage of a bid to get his convictions overturned.

Alan Joseph Healey, 47, of Darwen, was put behind bars at Preston Crown Court on May 18, 2005, having been found guilty by a jury on nine counts of indecent assault, 11 of indecency with a child, and three of attempted rape.

Healey has always denied the offences, which were alleged to have been committed on a boy under the age of 10.

And now Lord Justice Aikens, Mr Justice Keith and Mrs Justice Thirlwall, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, have granted him permission to appeal against his convictions on four grounds.

Healey’s grounds for challenging the verdicts include criticisms of ‘character evidence’ put before the jury and directions given by the trial judge relating to the 18-year time lapse between the time of the alleged offences, and their being reported to the police.

Lord Justice Aikens said: “We consider that these are arguable grounds.

“We have considered whether or not we should grant leave given the very long period of time since these convictions.

“We have come to the conclusion that it is ultimately in the interests of justice that leave to appeal be granted to argue the four proposed grounds.”

May 2005

Monster jailed

A “DANGEROUS” paedophile who groomed and then regularly abused three boys has been jailed for 15 years.

Alan Healey, 41, of Railway Road, Darwen, was found guilty of 22 counts of sexual abuse, including three attempted rapes on one of the boys.

The jury at Preston Crown Court took three hours and 42 minutes to convict Healey of all the offences which he carried out over 17 years.

None of his victims, who were praised for their bravery in coming forward and giving evidence, was in court to hear the verdict.

During the trial the boys gave evidence and told how their lives had been destroyed by Healey’s actions, which mainly involved indecent touching and encouraging them to do likewise to him.

The prosecution said Healey he groomed the boys to accept his behaviour and dominated them with his intimidating personality.

Healey showed no visible sign of emotion when the guilty pleas were announced by the jury forewoman.

During his six-day trial Healey insisted the boys were lying, but Judge Russell told him the evidence against him was compelling.

The judge added: “It is a verdict with which I wholly agree. These are very serious and grave matters which call for severe punishment.

These children didn’t know who to turn to for help and will be disturbed as a result of your actions.

“The sentence is consistent with the seriousness of the offences.”

Healey was convicted of eight indecent assaults, 11 counts of indecency with a child and three attempted rapes.

The jury unanimously reached their decisions on 16 of the counts after 135 minutes, but needed extra time and majority verdicts for the remaining six.

A further count of indecency with a child was discharged after the jury failed to reach a verdict.

Healey was initially charged with more than 30 counts of child sex abuse involving three more child complainants.

But it can now be revealed the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence in these cases and Healey was found not guilty.

Today Det Sgt Paul Withers, at Darwen CID, said he was “delighted” at the sentence and described Mr Healey as a “dangerous, dangerous man”.

He said: “We are very pleased. This case showed historic abuse and the right sentence was given.

“This seriousness of this case was huge because of the number of victims and the time it went on for.