A child abuser who kept pictures of his victim on his mobile phone has been locked up for eight years.
Richard Ferguson, of Carnforth Avenue, Bispham, took pictures as he sexually assaulted a five-year-old girl in the room where she was sleeping earlier this year.
Such crimes are difficult to investigate, not least because of the capacity of such young victims to explain what has happened.Det Sgt Mark Dickinson
When police seized the 31-year-old’s phone they found indecent pictures of another girl, also five.
Ferguson pleaded guilty to a string of child sex offences and was sentenced to eight years behind bars followed by eight years on extended licence, the maximum allowed by law.
Speaking after the court hearing at Preston Crown Court, detectives said Richardson was a “risk to the public”.
His crimes came to light after his victim told her family what he had done to her.
Richardson, who was known to the victim’s family, assaulted at an address in Blackpool on March 3.
He went into the room where she had been put down to sleep and abused her.
Police were called after the girl told her family what had happened and when detectives examined his phone they found evidence of his horrific crimes.
Pictures on the device showed him assaulting the five-year-old in what detectives called an “opportunistic” attack.
It was then they discovered indecent images of a second child.
Detectives said he had befriended the family of his second victim over time in order to abuse this victim.
Det Con Andy Gilmour, of Blackpool CID, investigated Ferguson.
He said: “The two offences have seen him act as an opportunist, and also as someone prepared to spend time ingratiating himself with a family in order to create opportunities to offend.”
Det Sgt Mark Dickinson, also of Blackpool CID, added: “He has befriended the family of the second victim over a long period of time.
“Offenders like Ferguson present a clear risk to the public.
“Such crimes are difficult to investigate, not least because of the capacity of such young victims to explain what has happened.
“I’d like to offer reassurance that any reports of sexual offences, new or old, will be dealt with sensitively, thoroughly and professionally, with the interests of the victims and their families being our priority.”
Ferguson was jailed at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to assault by penetration, sexual assault and making indecent images of children,
He was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and a notification requirement indefinitely.
He will also have to pay a £120 victim surcharge.
Anyone who has been the victim of a sexual offence, or knows someone who has, is advised to contact police on 101.