August 2006

Man, 70, jailed for sex assault

A PENSIONER who sexually abused a “vulnerable” schoolgirl 30 years ago was today starting a 15-month jail term.

Neil Chadwick, now 70, touched the victim intimately while exposing himself, committed sex acts on himself and told the girl that if she reported the abuse nobody would ever believe her.

Chadwick, a father-of-two and grandfather, of Chester Street, Accrington, left the victim, who went to the police last November, traumatised by her ordeal.

She wanted him to go to prison for 30 years, Burnley Crown Court was told.

But speaking today his victim said she was pleased with the sentence, saying that after sitting through the trial she feared he might have avoided jail completely.

She said: “I am still shock at the sentence but very pleased that he has been put away. He deserves to be punished.”

Chadwick’s sordid behaviour had also brought suffering to his family.

After the offences came to light both his wife and one of his sons tried to kill themselves, the court was told.

The defendant, said to be suffering depression, had earlier admitted six specimen charges of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child, between February 1971 and February 1980.

Judge Beverley Lunt, said he had acted appallingly towards the child. She said she would be failing in her public duty if she did not send him to prison.

But she added: “No period in custody will seriously compensate the victim.”

Chadwick was also put on the sex offenders’register for five years.

Sarah Johnston, prosecuting, said the abuse took place in Accrington when the girl was aged between 11 and 18.

At the time she was fairly naive, but knew it was sexual touching and that it was wrong.

The victim made it clear she did not want Chadwick to do it.

Miss Johnston said the girl started to hate the defendant and tried to avoid him.

When she was 18 the abuse stopped when the girl met her husband, told him what had gone on and warned Chadwick she would tell the police.

The defendant’s response was that he would deny it, the court was told.

Keith Harrison, defending, said Chadwick had pleaded guilty, sparing the victim further shock and psychological damage on top of that she had already sustained.