A PAEDOPHILE has been sentenced to eight years behind bars after telling a four-year-old girl to ‘keep a secret’ while he subjected her to a year of ‘appalling’ abuse.

Paul Evans, aged 45, of Ridgeway Street, was jailed after what the judge described as ‘disgusting’ exploitation that left the victim’s mum suicidal.

Warrington Crown Court heard on Friday how Evans, who worked at a supermarket in the town, groomed the young girl before abusing her.

He also took 40 photos of her in explicit positions, and had more than 300 pictures of other children downloaded from paedophile websites.

Jailing Evans, Judge Roger Dutton said: “This clearly has had a serious impact on her, and her family.

“It may be she is able to put it behind her and move on, but I’m afraid the courts deal regularly with cases of sexual exploitation, where the victim in later life recalls everything.”

The victim’s mum, who attended court, cried as the verdict was delivered.

Paulinus Barnes, prosecuting, said the abuse happened between June 18, 2012 and June 17, 2013.

It came to light after the victim’s behaviour changed dramatically. She became ‘clingy’ and refused to eat, the court heard.

On June 16 last year, she confided in a relative, with police then informed.

Evans was arrested two days later and admitted to a raft of sexual attacks on the child.

The court heard Evans, who has no previous convictions, has a long-standing interest in child pornography, and fetish material.

Police seized his computer, tablet and phone to find a history of child pornography websites.

Evans pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault by penetration, eight counts of taking indecent images, and one count of possessing a collection of indecent images.

The plea was entered at an earlier court hearing on April 16.

Simeon Evans, defending, said the defendant felt ‘remorse and guilt’ for his actions.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison, and told sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

Evans was also given a 10 year sexual offences prevention order banning him from unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16.

THE mum of the four-year-old victim abused by Paul Evans attended court to describe how he has torn her family apart.

She revealed attempting suicide just weeks ago.

“I’m on two kinds of anti-depressants, and suffer panic attacks, and anxiety,” said the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

“Last month I was admitted to Warrington Hospital after taking an overdose of paracetemol.”

The abuse has also devastated the young victim.

“(My daughter) has become extremely claustrophobic.

“She had to be taken out of the cinema recently because she couldn’t handle the dark.

“(She) can’t handle being in toilets and having the door closed.”

The victim’s brother has also been badly affected, the court heard.

“(My son) feels angry because he feels he should have been able to protect his sister.

“He has been referred to the NSPCC, and a child psychiatrist.”