October 2015

Child molesting pensioner jailed

A VICTIM of sexual abuse as a child sobbed as she told a court how her life was ruined by the traumatic experience of 20 years ago.

The young woman was subjected to sexual assaults from the age of six for seven years.

Giving evidence behind a screen at Manchester Crown Court, she described how Derek Seal, a 69-year old granfather considered a loving family man and pillar of his community, had turned her world upside down.

His victim blocked the assaults from her mind for years, but finally felt she had to speak out, she said – leading to Seal’s arrest in January 2014.

Seal who lived with his wife in Chamber Road, Oldham, denied the allegations and insisted they were a fabrication. He told police he was “disgusted” by what was said about him and insisted his conscience was clear.

But in July a trial jury found him guilty of four counts of indecent assault. Jailing him for five years, Judge Jeffrey Lewis told him: “You betrayed the innocence of her childhood. You abused and exploited her and encouraged her to keep it secret.”

The judge applauded the victim’s decision to speak: “She was extremely distressed and deserves praise for reading her statement for all to hear,” he said.

The court heard that Seal had begun abusing her when she was six, followed by a gap until she was around nine. He stopped when she reached 13. The court heard he told her his actions were “our little secret” and said she would be in trouble if anyone found out.

His victim told the court she struggled to sleep and had nightmares, and had received psychiatric help and counselling. She was repulsed by thoughts of intimacy and this threatened her hopes of marrying and having a family.