May 2013

Brighouse man, 72, jailed for abusing children


A retired lorry driver has been jailed for ten years for sexually abusing two young girls, including trying to rape one of them.

Alan Harris, 72, of Waterloo Road,Brighouse, was sentenced yesterday after a jury at Bradford Crown Court found him guilty of molesting his victims in the 1970s and 1980s.

During the trial the jury was told that one girl was 11-years-old when Harris began to abuse her.

He was cleared of raping her but convicted of attempted rape, indecent assault and indecency with a child.

Harris pleaded guilty during his trial to a separate single allegation that he indecently assaulted a girl aged 15.

Recorder Graham Hyland QC said the abuse spanned a period from 1975 to 1984.

Of the first girl, the judge stated: “You subjected her, over a number of years, starting when she was 11, to systematic abuse.

The victim, now a woman in her 40s, had her childhood blighted and was still suffering today from what Harris had done to her.

He then indecently assaulted another girl on a single occasion

In mitigation, Harris’s barrister, Gillian Batts, said he had a sick wife who was too poorly to visit him in jail.

He had said goodbye to her knowing he might never be able to see her again.

After the case, Detective Chief Inspector Terry Long, of Calderdale CID, said justice had caught up with Harris almost four decades after he began a catalogue of sexual abuse.

He told the Telegraph & Argus: “With the passage of time, Harris might have thought he had got away with the offences but officers have painstakingly investigated the allegations and brought him to justice.

“Victims should be safe in the knowledge that we take all allegations of sexual assault seriously and have a dedicated unit of specially-trained officers ready to investigate.

“The case also shows how we will always investigate allegations, however old they are.

“Harris now has a long time in prison to consider the consequences of his actions.”

April 2013

Brighouse pensioner admits further sex attack on teen

A FORMER lorry driver has confessed to a jury that he molested a second girl three decades ago.

But he still denies raping her or committing more serious sexual abuse.

Earlier this week pensioner Alan Harris, 72, pleaded guilty to one offence of indecent assault involving a 15-year-old complainant who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Yesterday he also told Bradford Crown Court that he had touched the breasts of another youngster.

The second complainant alleges that she suffered serious sexual abuse from the age of 11, but during his evidence to the jury Harris said the behaviour took place over a shorter period of time and included him touching the girl’s breasts and getting her to perform a sexual act on him.

Harris, of Waterloo Road, Brighouse, said he was disgusted and ashamed of his behaviour more than 30 years ago, but he insisted that he had never raped the girl.

At the time of the alleged abuse Harris said he was drinking heavily and the girl never objected.

Harris, who previously lived in Elland, said he took advantage and added: “I’m ashamed and disgusted about what I did but it’s too late I’ve done it.”

His barrister Gillian Batts asked him if drink had played a part in the behaviour and Harris replied: “It must have done … I wouldn’t have done that sober.”

The court heard that Harris’ behaviour towards the girl came out in the late 1980s and he had sought help from a specialist.

Harris said his arrest last year came out of the blue.

“I was astounded when the cop came,” he told the court.

“I said that’s all over and dusted. That’s years and years ago. We’ve got past that…I said there was no rape involved. I’ve never raped anybody.”

Harris has denied a series of allegations including rape, indecent assault and indecency with a child dating back to the late 1970s and 80s.

The trial continues