May 2013

Blackpool child abuser jailed

Howard Butcher

A Blackpool man who sexually abused two girls has been jailed for three and a half years for crimes that have left his victims devastated, casting “a very dark shadow over their lives”

Howard Butcher, 56, of Hemingway, Marton, was convicted after a trial of five offences – one of indecent assault, another of attempted indecent assault, plus two charges of sexual assault and one of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Preston Crown Court heard the offences, which involved touching, took place between 1999 and 2005. One of the offences was said to have taken place on a coach.

Louise Whaites, prosecuting, said Butcher’s behaviour had seen him giving £5 to victims after some offences took place. He was arrested in January 2011 and categorically denied the allegations, claiming the girls were lying.

Judge Christopher Cornwall jailed Butcher for three and a half years after hearing the offences had caused the victims – both under 16 – to suffer a loss of confidence and their studies were affected.

Chris Hudson, defending, said: “For many years he was a likeable coach driver.

“It is some time ago now since the offences took place. The effects have been devastating on his victims and their families.”

Sentencing him yesterday, Judge Cornwall told Butcher: “You remain in denial.

“There is, therefore, no remorse, no insight into the devastation you have caused in the lives of the two victims.

“You have cast a very dark shadow over their adolescence and their continuing lives.”

Butcher, was also made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, including a ban on him having any unsupervised contact with girls under 16 for an indefinite period.

He has also been banned from working with children and told he will be on the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.

Mr Hudson, defending, added: “It has also been devastating upon his wife and family.

“They have suffered direly.”