May 2016

JAILED: ‘Dangerous’ Bolton paedophile for campaign of abuse on young girl

A judge branded a Bolton man as “dangerous” before jailing him for six-and-a-half years for a campaign of sexual abuse of a young girl.

Colin Lawton, aged 65, targeted his victim from the age of eight or nine in a series of offences for which he was sent to prison at Bolton Crown Court.

Lawton of Kendal Road, Bolton, earlier admitted six counts of indecent assault on a female and one of gross indecency with a child

Prosecutor Philip Dobson said: “She looked up to him.

“She thought he was intelligent and knowledgeable.”

Mr Dobson said Lawton’s interactions with the girl started off innocently and “became more and more overtly sexual”.

The court heard he intimately touched the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and kissed her intimately on multiple occasions.

One time he persuaded her to strip and then undressed himself before coaxing her into hitting him on the bare bottom with a belt.

In another incident the former trainee buyer and Liverpool tax office worker left chips cooking in a pan on the hob in order to abuse her upstairs.

The unattended food burst into flames and started a serious fire that caused smoke damage to the kitchen.

Mr Dobson said: “She would very frequently cry herself to sleep.

“When she didn’t do what he told her, he had outbursts of temper, which frightened her.

“He told her not to say anything to anyone about what was happening.”

Lawton was arrested in November 2014 and admitted his past conduct with the girl during police interviews.

Mr Dobson said: “He regarded her as almost a cross between a mother and a girlfriend. He confided in her.

“He said he had been infatuated with her from when she was eight until she was in her 20s.”

The court heard he committed some of the offences while serving a two-year probation order imposed in 1976 for an indecent assault on a different young girl.

Nicola Gatto, for Lawton, said her client had tried to kill himself at least three times during his life — including one attempt that delayed this week’s sentencing hearing from an earlier date.

She said: “He was a very lonely and solitary individual.

“He describes himself as very depressed at the moment and with little or no friends.

“His personality difficulties are very deep-rooted. He believes he had some sort of ‘delayed adolescence’.”

The Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Timothy Clayson, sentenced Lawton to a total of 78 months in prison and imposed on him an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

Judge Clayson said of Lawton: “He was, I have no doubt at all, a dangerous individual to two young girls.”