April 2013

Pervert from Barnoldswick jailed for sex assaults

edward o'neill

MIDDLE-AGED man who had sex with a schoolgirl and performed an indecent act on another has been jailed for four years.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Edward O’Neill, now 45, who claimed he was lonely, repeatedly had intercourse with one girl in a house or in a car.

He committed a sex act on the second girl after he got out of his car in the Pendle area at night, put his hand down her trousers and then drove off.

The hearing was told O’Neill denied any sexual contact with the victims when he was arrested and questioned by police.

The defendant, of Denton Street, Barnoldswick, admitted five charges of sexual activity with a female child under 16.

He also pleaded guilty to one allegation of attempting to pervert the course of justice after he was said to have ‘manufactured a false piece of evidence’.

He was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register indefinitely, was banned from working with children for life and was given a 10-year sexual offences prevention order, banning unsupervised contact with children under 16.

O’ Neill also received a two-year restraining order to keep him away from the victims.

Peter Horgan, prosecuting, said police were called after the first victim’s mother noticed a change in her behaviour.

The girl told officers O’Neill had flirted with her, called her sexy and then had intercourse with her on a sofa after locking the house door.

Mr Horgan said the defendant was arrested in September 2011 and January last year and sex had happened. He was bailed but the second girl then made her complaint and he was arrested again last March.

The court was told O’Neill had a criminal record, but no previous convictions for sex offences and had not offended for 20 years.

Adam Watkins, for O’Neill, said what he had done was ‘utterly wrong’.

He said the defendant was immature and did not present as a man of 45.

He said: “There is ample evidence that Edward O’Neill is and was both emotionally and psychologically stuck at a much younger age than he is.

“To the probation service, he presented as a man in his 20s.

“He hasn’t been able to accept the aging process. He dresses and styles his hair as if he was at a much younger age.

“He’s utterly ashamed.”

Sentencing, Judge Andrew Woolman told O’ Neill he knew perfectly well how old the girls were and said the age difference between the defendant and them was ‘enormous’.