Beds, Herts & Bucks

Watford paedophile jailed for 10 years as risk to children

An 80-year-old paedophile who sexually abused four girls has been jailed for 10 years.

One of the victims of church-going John Dearlove, from Watford, was as young as eight, St Albans Crown Court heard.

He was sentenced to five-and-a-half years for his crimes and a further four-and-a-half years because he posed a serious risk to children.

Judge Stephen Gullick said a probation report about Dearlove identified a lack of understanding of his offences.

Prosecutor Peter Shaw said from 2008 to 2011 he abused one girl when she was aged between 9 and 11 and as a result she had self-harmed.

Another abused girl said Dearlove put his hand down her trousers and she now suffered nightmares.

Lacked understanding of crimes

Dearlove, of Grandfield Avenue in Watford, Hertfordshire, was arrested on 14 September last year.

He initially denied the offences but later pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual assault of a child aged under 13 and one of sexual assault of a girl.

David Smithet, defending, said Dearlove was a widower since his wife of 40 years died in 1999 and a diabetic who had suffered a stroke.

"He accepts his behaviour was unacceptable and criminal," he said.

Judge Stephen Gullick said a probation report on Dearlove said he did not "exhibit an understanding" of his offending.

The extended sentence was because he remained a significant risk to children under 16.

Dearlove will remain on the sex offenders register for life and was banned from unsupervised contact with children for the next 10 years.

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