A wheelchair-bound Blackpool paedophile who sexually abused two young girls, under the guise of “special hugs”, thoroughly deserved his tough jail term, top judges have ruled.
Glyn Hatter, 72, of Tudor Place, South Shore, subjected the girls - both then aged under 10 - to a catalogue of abuse more that a decade ago, rubbing himself against them, pushing his tongue into their mouths and touching them inappropriately.
The former hotel operator, who is now wheelchair-bound, was handed five-and-a-half years jail at Preston Crown Court in October, last year, after he was found guilty of 20 counts of indecent assault.
Today, three senior judges at London’s Appeal Court rejected a sentence challenge by the sex-offender, saying they “endorsed” his jail term.
Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said Hatter (pictured right) administered so-called “special hugs” to the girls separately, lifting them up, rubbing himself against their bodies and forcing his tongue into their mouths.
During further assaults, he molested each of the girls while they sat on his knee. He would also touch them in additional unwanted advances.
The litany of sex crimes did not come to light until the victims, by then in their 20s, came forward.
The abuse had damaging effects on them, with one suffering significant psychological problems, the appeal judge said. Hatter was left semi-paralysed in 2008 as a result of a brain abscess and, by the time he was jailed, he required an electric wheelchair to get around and constant support from his carer wife.
On appeal, his barrister, Tania Griffiths QC, argued that the judge imposed an unnecessarily harsh jail term, having failed to take adequate account of Hatter’s poor health.
She said Hatter is banned from using an electric wheelchair while behind bars and, as such, will be effectively “parked” for the duration of his sentence.
But Mr Justice Stuart-Smith, sitting with Lord Justice McCombe and Mr Justice Coulson, said the court was “not persuaded” there was anything wrong with Hatter’s jail term.
“The sentence would have been too lenient, before accounting for Hatter’s frailty. As it is, the sentence certainly is not excessive or wrong in principle,” the judge said.
He concluded: “We decline to interfere with Hatter’s sentence. On the contrary, we endorse it.”