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10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ABUSER, 72.

Byline: EXAMINER News Correspondent editorial@examiner.co.uk

A PENSIONER has been jailed for sex abuse dating back three decades.

Former lorry driver Alan Harris, 72, was jailed for a total of 10 years after a jury found him guilty of attempted rape and sex abuse charges on young girls.

Harris, of Waterloo Road, Brighouse, was convicted last month of abuse charges relating to two women who described how they were molested by him in 1970s and 80s.

All but one of the 30 charges related to the same complainant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, and yesterday Recorder Graham Hyland QC said he was satisfied that her childhood had been "blighted" by what Harris did to her.

The judge said the abuse of that complainant, which began when she was 11, culminated in an offence of attempted rape.

The second victim was indecently assaulted by Harris when she was aged 15.

Harris pleaded guilty in front of the jury to that specific offence the day after the victim's video evidence had been played in court.

Recorder Hyland said he had read a victim impact statement from the principal complainant and added: "I am satisfied that your offending against her blighted her childhood and she still today, after many, many years have elapsed, suffers as a result of what you did to her."

The court heard that Harris, who previously lived in the Elland area, had for several years been acting as a carer for his wife who has serious health problem.

The judge said he had taken Harris' age and personal circumstances into account in assessing the appropriate sentence.

Harris, who was allowed to remain seated as the judge jailed him, showed little emotion as Recorder Hyland passed sentence, but his barrister Gillian Batts said her client would find the substantial prison term difficult to endure because of his age.

She said the reality of the situation was that her client had said goodbye to his wife knowing that it may be the last time he saw her because she was too ill to visit him in custody.

Miss Batts said Harris' guilty plea to the indecent assault on the second complainant, who also cannot be identified, meant she at least was spared being cross-examined during the trial last month.

Recorder Hyland jailed Harris for nine years on the attempted rape charge with concurrent sentences for the further offences of indecent assault and indecency with a child.

But the judge added an extra 12 months in prison for the separate indecent assault on the 15-year-old girl.

Harris is expected to serve about two-thirds of the jail term before being released and he will also have to register as a sex offender with the police for the rest of his life.

Det Chief Insp Terry Long, of Calderdale CID, said: "With the passage of time Harris may have thought he had got away with the offences but officers have painstakingly investigated the allegations and brought him to justice.

"Victims should be safe in the knowledge that we take all allegations of sexual assault seriously and have a dedicated unit of specially trained officers ready to investigate.

"The case also shows how we will always investigate allegations, however old they are.

"Harris now has a long time in prison to consider the consequences of his actions."

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JAILED : Sex abuser Alan Harris targeted two young girls
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 9, 2013
Words:567
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