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Dunstable pensioner jailed over sexual abuse

Luton Crown Court Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Patrick Ryan was sentenced at Luton Crown Court

A 76-year-old man has been jailed for six years for sexually assaulting a girl almost two decades ago.

Patrick Ryan, of Dunstable, Bedfordshire, said the abuse was "a moment of madness" when his victim confronted him by phone, a court heard.

The jury was told Ryan would sexually touch the victim between 1999 and 2001 when she was aged between 11 and 12.

At Luton Crown Court, he was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault of a girl under the age of 14.

The woman told her partner about the abuse in 2017 and he encouraged her to contact police, the jury heard.

'Relive the nightmare'

Speaking in court, his victim said: "I cannot be left alone in any room with any male.

"I have self-harmed and been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. I relive the nightmare every day."

Defending, Drea Becker said Ryan still denies the offences and that his "primary concern" while he is in jail is his wife of 53 years.

Judge Rebecca Herbert said the victim was very young at the time and did not tell anyone as "she was frightened of not being believed".

"She was so brave when she confronted you by telephone and you immediately confessed your guilt.

"You confessed to her and told her it was a moment of madness. It was heard by a colleague and she was shaking like a leaf.

"She has suffered mentally as a result of what you did to her. What you did blighted her childhood and adolescence and continues to affect her now."

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