A pervert from Carlisle who subjected a young boy to numerous sexual assaults has been jailed for nine years.

Stuart Ross Paton, 52, denied 18 counts of indecently assaulting the boy but a jury convicted him after hearing the evidence during a five-day Carlisle Crown Court trial.

The defendant, of Houghton Road, Carlisle, who was known as Ross, showed no emotion as he was led away to start his sentence.

Earlier, prosecutor Tim Evans gave the court a heartbreaking insight into the impact of the abuse, reading aloud an impact statement from Paton’s victim, who was just a boy when he was targeted.

Now an adult, the victim spoke of enduring a "living hell", and how he was made to feel worthless.

“He talks about suffering from depression, which people didn’t understand because he hadn’t been able to explain,” said Mr Evans

“The amount of people who told him to get a grip; to stop being selfish was unbelievable. That made it harder for him to speak out.”

The abuse came to light after the victim - who was in primary school when the abuse began - decided to tell a relative who encouraged him to report what had happened to the police.

Such was the victim’s inner turmoil and anger that he punched walls; and he still has dark days, said Mr Evans.

In his statement, the victim wrote: “Ross stole my childhood, my teenage years and now my adult life.

"These are supposed to be the happiest years of your life, but he made mine a living hell.”

As he passed sentence, Recorder David Potter said to the defendant: “Your victim suffered humiliation and degradation... He says - and I accept - that he had his childhood stolen by you.”

Kim Whittlestone, for Paton, said he was a man of previous good character.

She outlined how the defendant - supported in court by some family members - had struggled to cope since he was remanded in custody.

Even in his interview with a Probation Service worker, Paton had continued to deny the offence.

The barrister questioned whether the impact on the victim had been severe psychologically.

But Recorder Potter told Paton: “In the judgement of this court, this was sustained abuse of a vulnerable victim, who was caused significant psychological harm. There has been severe psychological harm....The jury were sure there was only one liar in court in February and that was you.”

The judge said he agreed with the assessment of the Probation officer who interviewed Paton, concluding that he posed a a high risk of serious harm to children.

The judge imposed an indefinite Sexual harm Prevention Order.

This will prohibit the defendant from having any unsupervised contact or communication with any child other than when this is inadvertent, or with the consent of that child’s parent or guardian who has been told about Paton’s criminal past. He will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

After the case, Detective Constable Selena Cairns said: “The words detailed in the victim’s personal statement show the true impact of Paton’s actions.

"His despicable actions have subjected the victim to unimaginable suffering for the majority of his life.

“Not only were Paton’s actions evil, but he caused further emotional pain to the victim by continuing to deny the offences.

"This meant the victim had to provide evidence in court about the offences he was subjected to. Therefore it is without question that Paton has at no point shown any remorse whatsoever.

“I hope that today’s sentencing can provide some form of closure to the victim and that he can begin to move on with his life. He has shown true bravery throughout this investigation.”

Detective Chief Inspector Helen Harkins: “I would like to reiterate our commitment to investigating thoroughly any reports of sexual abuse – whether recent or non-recent. I would urge anyone who has been subject to offences of this nature to come forward. You will be listened to.”

If you wish to report a crime or speak to an officer about an incident, please contact Cumbria Police on 101.

If you have been affected by rape or sexual assault, contact The Bridgeway Sexual Assault Support Service’s 24/7 free helpline on 0808 118 6432.