Paedophile jailed for sexual abuse on Brighton children in 1980s

A sexual predator threatened to cut off a little girl’s head so he could sexually abuse her.

John Dowds was found guilty of three counts of historic sexual abuse in Brighton.

The 56-year-old committed three indecent assaults on a boy and a girl in the 1980s.

He gained favour with the children’s families, groomed the boy with offers of sweets, and threatened the girl.

The victims, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were both aged between five and six at the time.

Dowds was previously convicted of a similar offence against the boy, but the case has now been revisited when he contacted the police.

Judge David Rennie jailed Dowds for a total of three years but said the punishment would have been worse if he did not have learning difficulties.

Alexander Williams, prosecuting, said Dowds touched the girl and boy’s genitals.

Mr Williams said: “There was a threat of violence, she recalled the threat of getting her head cut off as a young girl. There was also grooming and abuse of trust.”

A jury found Dowds, of Thorndean Road, Brighton, not guilty of a more serious offence against the boy.

Judge Rennie said: “Your offending has caused great distress and harm that endures to this day.

“You have done terrible things to the children, which is balanced with the fact you have profound cognitive difficulties. Your sentence would have been longer had it not been for your impairments.”