Sex beast jailed
A 73-year-old sexual predator who preyed on two young girls has been told he could spend the remainder of his life behind bars.
Kenneth Lea was convicted of nine separate sex offences against the youngsters by a jury following a trial in May.
Sentencing him at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court yesterday, recorder Peter Wright QC told him: “These girls were groomed by you in order to make them sexually pliable.
“I am quite sure that you awaited your opportunity and took it. You are an opportunist and a sexual predator.”
He told Lea, of Oak Street, Shaw, that his actions in respect of the first girl almost 20 years ago, when she was aged just five or six, had left her confused and emotionally scarred.
He added: “Your effect on her has been profound and lifelong.”
Lea who showed no emotion as he was sentenced, has been jailed for a total of 16 years, and told that there will be no automatic release on serving half his sentence.
He was sent down for 12 years for the most serious offence of assault on a girl under 13 by penetration, and given four years consecutive for indecent assault on a young girl.
There were concurrent sentences of six and seven years for offences including sexual assault and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
The court was told that a probation service report had concluded that Lea should be classed as a dangerous offender.
Recorder Wright said he had decided against an indeterminate sentence however, as the length of the term he was imposing would adequately protect the public.
In a statement to police, the first victim, now a grown woman, said what happened had taken over her life and caused massive strain.
She said: “Whatever sentence is imposed, it will never take away the pain he caused.”
She said she had carried the burden of what had happened for years, thinking that if she spoke out she would not be believed.
The court had been told that the second victim had been four to five at the time, but Recorder Wright said he hoped she might be able to forget about what had happened because of her age.
He said she had been repeatedly sexually assaulted, describing Lea’s actions as “dreadful”.
The court was told that Lea was suffering from poor health, and Philip Barnes defending, said time in prison would be difficult for him.
Recorder Wright told him the only possible mitigation in his case was his advanced age and the fact that he had no previous convictions.
He said: “You may well be incarcerated for the rest of your life.”
Should he be released he will be on the sex offenders’ register and subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for an indefinite period.