Abuser brought to justice after 40 years

Thomas Riley
Thomas Riley

A pensioner who abused a little girl more than 40 years ago has been jailed for nine months.

Jurors found Thomas Riley, guilty of attacking the girl when she was aged nine, following a trial at Preston Crown Court.

The 67-year-old had denied the string of four indecent assaults – specimen charges – which date back as far as 1972.

The victim, now a married woman who cannot be identified for legal reasons, gave evidence during his trial about the assaults at a property in the Kirkham area.

Several people watching the proceedings from the public gallery burst into tears when he was jailed.

Judge Stuart Baker permitted Riley, who suffers serious health issues including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), to remain seated during his sentencing.

As he spoke, Riley leaned forward on his walking stick and kept shaking his head.

The judge said: “ You continue to deny the offences.

“You were found guilty of indecently assaulting the girl on several occasions in the 1970s when she was nine or 10, and at the time you were in your 20s.

“Some of the assaults took the form of kissing her in a way she describes as passionately, and touching her.

“She did not want you to do what you did.

“She says when she was a child the impact was minor.

“It was when she got older that it then had a greater impact on her, affecting her marital relationship with her husband.”

Judge Baker said at the time Riley, of Chestnut Crescent, Ribbleton, Preston, committed the offences the law would have permitted him to be jailed for a maximum of five years, though if the same offences were committed today he could face 14 years in jail.

However he took into account the “relatively short period of time” the offences happened over, that there was not a significant degree of planning, and it was not a case where Riley had been “entrusted with her care”.

The court was told the victim suffered various personal problems and had to have behavioural therapy, but it was not clear if the issues could be attributed to the abuse.