Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford man Robert Haines jailed for child sex assaults

Robert Haines Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Robert Haines, 27 from Hockliffe Road in Bedford was jailed for 18 years at Luton Crown Court

A man who sexually abused two children under the age of eight has been jailed for 18 years.

Robert Haines, 27, of Hockliffe Road, Bedford was convicted of six charges of rape of a child under 13 and five of sexual assault on a child under 13 during a trial in November.

Sentencing at Luton Crown Court, the Judge Michael Kay QC described the offences as "despicable".

He also placed Haines on an extended license for seven years.

The court heard Haines was arrested in May after the mother of the first victim, who was aged five of six, caught him sexually touching her child.

During the course of that investigation a second victim, who was aged six or seven, came forward.

'Maintains innocence'

The judge said: "These were despicable offences against young people who cannot protect themselves.

"It is very difficult to know the effect there is going to be on the children in future years.

"These sorts of experiences can destroy a young person's life."

In mitigation, defence counsel Andrew Selby said Haines maintained he was innocent.

"He has lost his circle of friends. His parents are standing by him. He has been subject to threats and bullying in custody," said Mr Selby.

The judge said Mr Haines would not be considered for parole until he has served at least 12 years.

Haines has also been put on the sex offenders register for life and has been given a sexual harm prevention order, until further notice.

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