A PENSIONER and former farm worker has been jailed for four years after being found guilty of molesting two under-age girls in the early 1980s.
David Hughes, 67, of Ring Road, Backford, had denied two charges of indecent assault and three of indecency with a child.
But jurors at Chester Crown Court yesterday found him guilty on all five counts by majority verdicts of 10 to two.
One of his victims, now in her forties, said Hughes had “taken away her adolescence” by abusing her as a young teenager.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also said she could not look at tractors or fields in the countryside without being reminded of her childhood ordeal.
The court had heard that she was among children who would visit a farm and he would take her into the middle of a field in his tractor where he made her touch him sexually.
Sentencing, judge Mr Justice Jay told Hughes: “The evidence against you was compelling.
“This was a gross breach of trust. They [the victims] were defenceless and vulnerable.”
In mitigation, defence counsel Simon Mills said Hughes had not committed any further offences in the last 30 years.
He told the court: “The defendant has lived a blameless life since the offences were committed and has been a hard-working man.
“Now, on the verdict of the jury, his past has caught up with him.”
Hughes did not react as the verdicts were delivered, and raised a hand to his partner as he was led from the dock. The judge said he was bound to sentence Hughes under the law as it was in the 1980s, rather than under today’s “much more severe” guidelines.
Hughes was handed prison terms of 18 months for counts one and two, indecency with a child, and 24 months for counts three and four, indecent assault, with the two sentences to run concurrently.
He was also given six months for indecency with a child relating to the second girl.
This means he will spend a maximum of 30 months in jail.
See full story in the Chester Leader