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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Pensioner convicted of sex abuse of girl, 11, facing prison

A pensioner faces a possible jail term after he was found guilty of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl.

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William Richardson

Related: Cumbrian man, 76, on trial for sex offences

William Richardson, 76, from Melbreak Avenue, Cleator Moor, stood in silence in the dock at Carlisle Crown Court as the verdicts were read out.

He had to grab a chair for support after the jury found him guilty of two rape charges and two charges of indecency against the girl during the early 1990s.

Judge Barbara Forrester remanded him in custody until he is sentenced next month.

Tim Brennand, prosecuting, asked for the sentencing date to be set at September 12 to allow medical reports to be prepared.

Greg Hoare, defending, had asked for Richardson not to be remanded because of his age.

He said: “He is of no flight risk and I am sure he will comply with any conditions your honour chooses to impose on his bail.”

The judge said that, under the circumstances, he should be remanded and added: “I was surprised when I saw the charges that he wasn’t already in custody.”

The jury heard that Richardson, who is also known as Jack, is waiting to be sentenced for a string of sex offences against other children which took place between the mid-1970s and late-1990s.

During the four-day trial the victim told the court that she had not mentioned anything about what had happened and only came forward when she heard that others had made similar allegations.

During his closing speech Mr Brennand told the jury that the case was the victim’s word against Richardson’s.

He said: “The accusation is that she is lying – if she is lying she has gone about it in a spectacular way. What possible motive could she have to go into a police station to say I was raped by Jack Richardson years ago?”

Mr Brennand added allegations in a report in 1997 that the girl was sexually abused by her brother were pure speculation on the part of the person who conducted the interview.

In closing his case Mr Hoare said that the jury had to make a judgement as to who was telling the truth.

He added: “You have to make a judgement whether the witness is reliable – honest witnesses are regularly shown to be mistaken.

“People convince themselves that they are right in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

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