September 2016

Blood cancer patient jailed for six years for sexually abusing young girl


A blood cancer sufferer has been jailed for six years after subjecting a young girl to campaign of sexual abuse.

Despite Howard Burdon’s terminal condition, Judge Mark Bury insisted he had no option but to jail him for a significant period after he admitted ten offences involving sexual assault and sexual activity with a child.

Hull Crown Court heard yesterday how Burdon, 52, gave the girl sleeping tablets before assaulting her. Burdon has been undergoing chemotherapy at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham for blood cancer.

In a victim impact statement, the girl said: “I suffer most nights with nightmares. My boyfriend is supportive but it has put a strain on the relationship.

“I suffer from bulimia and anxiety when I am in crowds. I think about what happened every day and I am receiving counselling.”

Police were alerted to the abuse by a phone call from the victim’s partner in the early hours of May 13, Hull Crown Court heard. The girl later formally complained and told police the abuse went on for a number of years.

Prosecutor David Gordon previously told Hull Crown Court after the first incident Burdon “told her not to tell anyone or he would go to prison”.

He said: “He would encourage her to take sleeping pills, as he described it, for her own benefit. Sometimes the pills were crushed into a drink, which had a ‘bitter taste’. She says all of this left her feeling scared and dirty.”

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In a police interview, Burdon, of Richmond Street, Bridlington, said “he thought he wasn’t harming anyone” because the abuse took place when the girl was asleep.

In mitigation for Burdon, Paul Norton told the court: “He certainly recognises it is shameful behaviour – disgusting, is the word he himself used – and he has expressed real remorse.

“He has a serious and untreatable condition. Doctors don’t anticipate death in the near future but it is likely his life will be shortened.”

Judge Mark Bury insisted there was no alternative to a lengthy jail sentence. He said: “You obtained significant sexual gratification.

“You have blood cancer which is incurable and you suffer from pain. But we know this offending merits a significant period of imprisonment.”

Burdon was handed prison terms for each offence, ranging from two to six years. He will also be on the sex offenders’ register for life.