November 2003

‘Laughing’ pervert gets 2 years’ jail

A PERVERT who sexually abused a schoolgirl, and was said to have laughed when she cried, has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Desmond Walsh, 36, had little understanding of the impact of his behaviour upon the child and was likely to remain a risk to youngsters.

The victim believed she was in some way to blame for what happened and had felt unable to speak out about her ordeal.

Sentencing the defendant, who molested the girl twice, five and 10 years ago, Judge Barbara Watson said Walsh’s conduct had had a very serious adverse effect on her.

She told him: “The court has a duty to protect young victims of sex offences and to deter others who might be tempted to behave in the way you did.”

Walsh, of Hurtley Street, Burnley, had earlier been convicted by a jury of two counts of indecent assault.

His licence was extended to the end of the 30-month term as the judge said “considerable work,” would have to be done with him. Walsh was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely.

Louise Blackwell, prosecuting, told the court Walsh first struck when the girl was 10 years old.

Her pulled off her underwear and committed a sex act on her. The girl was left sobbing and the defendant seemed to laugh at her. She told nobody what had happened.

Five years later, Walsh touched the girl intimately over her clothing. The defendant was not arrested until early 2000 and when he was questioned he denied the allegations.

Mark Stuart, defending, said the court was bound to pass a custodial sentence. The question was how long it would be.

The defendant had been in custody 13 months, some of which would not be discounted from the final prison sentence.

Walsh had made use of his time in custody. When he went on remand, he had few literacy and numeracy skills but had improved over the last 12 months.

Mr Stuart said Walsh’s wife remained loyal to him. The defendant, father of a 14-year-old girl – not the victim – did not intend to return home on his release as he did not want to put his family in a difficult position.