Serial paedophile abused five-year-old girl yards away from father

Wednesday 3pm - A SERIAL paedophile abused a five-year-old girl while her father was just yards away - then frightened her into silence saying if she told her dad would be locked up.

Dennis Hambridge carried out the sex attacks while giving the little girl piggy backs during a walking holiday.

Lincoln Crown Court was told the girl's father walked close by unaware of what was happening.

It marked the beginning of six years of sex abuse which she kept secret for over 30 years.

The 73 year old paedophile is now starting a four year prison sentence after he admitted using the girl to satisfy his desires, Hambridge of Dove Close, Sleaford, Lincs, admitted four charges of indecent assault between 1974 and 1980.

The court heard Hambridge met the girl while he was running a youth group in Essex.

He warned her what was happening had to be kept secret or else her father would be taken away. He also bought her silence with money and sweets.

Simon Rowe, prosecuting, said Hambridge finally moved to a different part of the country.

On occasions her unsuspecting family allowed him to take her on the train into London, but on the journey Hambridge took her into the toilet and assaulted her.

Finally his victim, now in her 40s, made a complaint to Essex Police.

Mr Rowe said: "This was ongoing abuse that happened on a very large number of occasions. The victim said it was so common Hambridge would try to get her on her own three or four times a week.

"Some of the offences happened in the presence of the victim's father unbeknown to him."

Mr Rowe said the abuse ruined the victim's life and has been traumatic for her entire family. "It has led to her having mental health difficulties for which she has had counselling and she has found it difficult to have normal relationships."

Hambridge already had a conviction for indecently assaulting an 11 year old girl back in 1966. In the 1980s he was twice given probation for an indecency offence against a seven year old boy in Birmingham and for a similar offence against a nine year old girl in South Wales.

Hambridge confessed immediately police officers knocked on his door.

Christopher Jeyes, defending, said Hambridge was now in poor mental health which was linked to the guilt he felt for his offending. He was placed on the sex offenders' register for life.