January 2021

Hartlepool deviant’s sexual abuse leaves young victim traumatised

A pensioner who repeatedly sexually abused a young girl has been jailed for five years.

Richard West ‘disgraceful’ assaults on the youngster only came to light when they plucked up the courage to tell people what was happening to her.

The 65-year-old pervert carried out a number of horrific sex acts on the child, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Philip Morley, prosecuting, said as a result of the abuse the victim’s mother blamed herself for the ordeal her daughter suffered at the hands of West.

Mr Morley read out extracts of the mother’s victim impact statement to the court saying: “He has taken away a huge part of her little girl’s life by what he has done. My little girl is at an age where the memories and nightmares of a child being sexually assaulted will stay with her for life.

“A sentence she never asked for or deserved.”

He said the mother continued to blame herself for not be able to protect her daughter and his abuse had left her unable to trust people.

“I have lost my life, my children have lost theirs, my little girl has to live with this for the rest of her life – the fact she was sexually assaulted as a child.”

Mr Morley said West told officers that he had no sexual interest in children following his arrest.

West, of Grosvenor Gardens, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual assault on a child under 13.

Judge Stephen Ashurst said: “You chose to behave in a disgraceful way towards that young girl. What you did was seriously deviant and happened on a number of occasions.

“It has left the victim distressed and traumatised by what happened to her.”

West was also given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.