May 2019: Joshua Ashton was released on Friday 26th April, 2019 after serving 5 years of his 10 year sentence. Has returned to the Blackburn area.

May 2014

Rapist is jailed for ten years

Joshua Ashton

A sexual predator that repeatedly attacked a ‘pre-pubescent child’ has been locked up for 10 years.

Burnley Crown Court had been told how Joshua Ashton, now a 22-year-old father-to-be, had dominated the schoolgirl – physically, emotionally and sexually – and told her to shut up as she rejected his advances.

On one occasion when he was molesting her, he told her it was ‘just a bit of fun’.

The hearing was told Ashton asserted the young girl’s allegations were a ‘pack of lies’ and told police she was an attention seeker.

But, last month, he was convicted by a jury of three charges of rape of a child under 13.

The defendant, of Albert Street, Great Harwood has now also been given an indefinite sexual offences prevention order, banning him from having or seeking any contact or communication with any child under 16 and from allowing any child under 16 into his house.

He was ordered to sign the sexual offenders register indefinitely and will be barred from working with children.

Prosecutor Sarah Johnson had told the court: “The defendant had the opportunity, he had the desire and he had the persistence to force himself upon her.”

Miss Johnson said on the second occasion, Ashton used his body weight to force himself on the girl. She went on: “She recalls saying no to the defendant repeatedly and him ignoring her requests. Again, she doesn’t tell anybody about it.

“She really didn’t quite understand what had happened to her.”

The court was told the victim suffered severe psychological harm.

Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gibson told the defendant: “These offences are extremely serious. You were convicted on what seemed to me to be very compelling evidence.”

“These offences are extremely serious.

“It seems to me the young lady did suffer significant psychological harm.”

The court previously heard that the victim was left ‘scared and confused’ and she had been too afraid to tell anyone about what had happened.

She eventually told family members about the attacks, leading to Ashton’s arrest and prosecution.