A paedophile who sexually abused a girl in Wirral in the late 1980s was jailed for four and a half years.
Ian Francis, 54, of Coombe Road, Irby, was found guilty after a trial of two counts of indecent assault at Liverpool Crown Court.
Unrepentant Francis – who continues to deny the offences – sat with his arms folded and shook his head in the dock as his crimes were described.
Nicola Daly, prosecuting, said he was aged around 29 or 30 and his victim was just four or five-years-old when he abused her.
The now adult woman broke down in tears when she tried to read a victim personal statement in court.
Miss Daly said the abuse had blighted her life, leading to her suffering from depression and anxiety and struggling in social situations.
She said the victim was accused of telling lies when she reported the historic abuse.
Miss Daly read on the victim’s behalf: “I saw things that no child ever should.
“I will always carry the scars of my early childhood but I hope I will be able to move on now.”
Francis, balding with grey hair and wearing a blue shirt and tie in the dock, had one previous conviction for assault in 2010.
John Ballam, defending, said a pre-sentence report indicated that Francis did not accept the jury’s decision, but said he respected the law.
He said Francis suffered a stroke in 2010 and now lived with his parents, who he cares for.
Mr Ballam said: “He is normally a responsible, respectable man and has been up until his stroke in full time employment.”
He said they were two “isolated incidents” and asked the judge to take into account his client’s age and ill-health.
Mr Ballam said: “He is not going to be able to cope with imprisonment. Any period of imprisonment is going to have a devastating effect on him.”
Recorder Simon Medland, QC, said Francis’ actions had a significant impact on his victim’s entire life.
He said: “These offences were perpetrated upon her when she was in a vulnerable state as a young girl.
“You will have heard the victim personal statement read out on her behalf.
“It’s a general application in cases of this nature that people like you, who commit offences on young vulnerable children, perhaps do not think, but must now surely realise that it can affect the whole of the victim’s life.
“There was in any view a gross abuse of trust.”
Historic sexual offences have to be sentenced under the law at the time the offences were committed, when the maximum sentence for these type of crimes was far lower.
Recorder Medland said that if the crimes were committed today, Francis would have attracted “a much longer sentence”.
The judge ordered Francis to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for the rest of his life.