A PERVERTED pensioner subjected a young girl to ‘appalling’ sexual abuse and took depraved photos as he did so.

Raymond Hughes was handed a sentence of more than a decade behind bars for his shocking behaviour.

The 74-year-old implored his victim not to tell anyone about the abuse as ‘bad guys would hurt him’, and he told police he hoped she would simply forget about what happened.

Hughes was charged with four counts of sexual assault by penetration of a child under 13 and one of taking indecent images of a child.

He was also convicted of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and causing a child to watch sexual activity, and he appeared to be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday.

Louise McCloskey, prosecuting, explained how the victim revealed to her family in January that she had been sexually abused.

She told her ‘shocked and horrified’ family that she had wanted to speak out for a long time but was worried about what would happen next.

Police were informed and she was interviewed, explaining to officers that the defendant would make her sit on his knee while he showed her online pornography.

As she was forced to watch, he would perform sex acts on her, including penetrative activity which she said ‘hurt’.

He would also take photos of himself abusing her while she was naked and call her ‘beautiful’, telling her that she would be ‘attractive when she grew up’.

Police found 20 indecent images of her in his possession, two of which were categorised as category A – the worst grading – while eight were category B and 10 category C.

The victim also told officers that he would make her hold his penis while he urinated and performed sex acts on himself, as well as how he told her not to tell anyone about the abuse as ‘bad guys would hurt him’.

Hughes was arrested by police and interviewed, where he made ‘full and frank’ admissions to the offences.

He said that he got aroused when she sat on his knee and when he touched her in a sexual way, while accepting that he performed penetrative activity with her, but never with his penis.

The defendant added that he regretted his actions ‘very, very much’ and that he had hoped she would have forgotten about it.

An impact statement was read out in court in which the victim said she remembers ‘in detail’ what happened to her.

“It upsets me looking back as I was told it was completely normal, and I feel sick I could have thought something like that was normal,” she said.

The abuse caused her to have problems sleeping, including nightmares about what he did, while she now has low self-esteem.

Reporting what happened to the police was ‘overwhelming and stressful’ for her as it was difficult going through it again.

Representing his client, James Smith referenced his lack of any previous convictions and his ill-health due to chronic heart and lung conditions and long Covid.

“This defendant is deeply sorry and ashamed for his actions,” he said.

Warrington Guardian: He was jailed at Liverpool Crown CourtHe was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court

“He knows he will have caused a lasting and serious impact, and he fully accepts the punishment which will be meted out by your honour today.

“He is someone who will embrace rehabilitation, and he has a high motivation to comply with all therapies proposed.”

Before sentencing, judge David Potter said: “All along, you hoped she would keep your awful secret to herself.

“What you did to her had a massive impact on her life and mental health. She was a happy and outgoing child, but her childhood was taken from her by your actions.

“It is abundantly clear that the psychological impact of your offending is profound, and it is likely to be a life-long lasting impact.

“Your life has been shattered, but so has that of many people because of your appalling behaviour.

“These offences are so serious that only an immediate and significant period of imprisonment is appropriate.”

Hughes, of Thurston Close in Hood Manor, was sentenced to 11 years and four months of prison.

Due to the nature of the offences, he is classed as an ‘offender of particular concern’ and was therefore handed a determinate sentence.

This means he will have to serve two thirds of the jail term in custody before the case goes before the parole board to determine if he can be released, and if so, he must spend an extra year on extended license.

He must also sign the sex offender register, comply with the terms of a sexual harm prevention order and abide by a restraining order not to contact or approach his victim – all for life.

Following the sentencing, DC Lauren Pedley, who led the police investigation, said: “Being subjected to sexual abuse affects people in the most profound way, and I would like to thank the victim for the courage she showed in disclosing what Hughes subjected her to during her childhood.

“While she will never be able to forget about what happened to her, I hope the fact that he is now behind bars facing the consequences of his actions provides the victim with some closure and enables her to begin to move forward with her life.”

DC Pedley added: “I hope this case and the significant custodial sentence that Hughes has received encourages other victims of sexual offences to come forward and report them to us.

“Cheshire Constabulary takes any allegation of sexual offences extremely seriously, no matter how long ago they relate to.

“Any allegation will be thoroughly investigated, with the wishes and needs of the victim as our main priority.

“Victims should never feel ashamed to talk about what they have been subjected to.

“They will receive the help and support they need from our specialist officers, as well as from other support agencies we work alongside, and all victims of sexual offences have the right to anonymity for life.”

Advice on identifying signs of sexual abuse is on the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children website.

Sexual offences can be reported via the Cheshire Police website or by calling 101.

They can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers, via 0800 555 111 or the Crimestoppers website.