An elderly St Albans paedophile was jailed for six and a half years today (Monday, January 10) for sexually abusing a girl.
Anthony Dear, 79, carried out the assaults over a three-year period, starting when the victim was aged 13.
At St Albans Crown Court, Judge Sandeep Kainth praised the courage of the girl, who has twice tried to take her own life, for coming forward to give evidence.
Dear, of Ladies Grove, St Albans, was convicted by a jury of five charges alleging sexual activity with a child and sexual assault.
Defending, James Keeley said Dear of was previous good character and would be 80 this year. He said prison will have a significant impact on him.
Sentencing him, Judge Kainth told Dear: “The matters to which you have been convicted are extremely serious. You perpetrated abuse over a significant period of three years.
“The impact on her has been very grave. On two occasions she has attempted to take her own life.”
The judge went on to say the victim was “frozen” when she was being abused by Dear. She felt worthless and thought she would not be believed.
Dear must register as a sex offender and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely.
Detective Constable Jane Swift, from the Constabulary’s Sexual Offences Investigation Team (SOIT), said: “First and foremost I would like to commend the victim for the bravery she has shown throughout. She has been left absolutely traumatised by the despicable actions of Dear, who abused her for a number of years and then continued the ordeal by putting her through a trial. Thankfully she was able to give her evidence through video link.
“However, today’s sentence means that this deplorable individual is now behind bars and no longer poses a danger to children. I hope the victim can take at least some small comfort from this and begin to move forward.”
She continued: “We take all reports of sexual assault seriously, no matter how long ago the offence occurred. We have specially trained officers on hand to provide support and guidance and will always do whatever we can to gather the necessary evidence to secure charges. If you have been a victim of a sexual offence, please reach out to police.
“If you do not feel comfortable reporting to police straight away, the Herts Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) can provide practical and emotional support. The centre can arrange face-to-face support, sexual health referrals, and provide medical examinations.”