September 2016

Pervert who assaulted 10-year-old girl who went on to take her life is finally jailed


A PERVERT who molested a 10-year-old during a coach trip to see the Pyramids in 2000 has finally been jailed.

Kayley Howson, from Burnley, tragically took her own life in 2008 – haunted by the trauma of 73-year-old Frank Dent’s assault, and an investigation into another – unrelated – incidence of rape she reported aged 13.

When Kayley was attacked by Dent on a day trip to Egypt during a family holiday in Cyprus, her family reported the assault – but the suspect was never traced and it was feared he had got away with it.

Later in 2003, Kayley confided to a teacher that she had been raped by another man and gave a statement to police.

Due to several adjournments, the case did not go to court until 2006 where Kayley gave evidence by video link. The suspect was subsequently acquitted.

The verdict hit Kayley “very, very hard” and had a catastrophic effect on her mental health – eventually leading her to tragically hang herself at home.

In an interview given after her devastating death, Kayley’s mother, Janet Mitchell. said: ”It was awful. Kayley was totally traumatised. I felt so guilty she hadn’t confided in me.

“Eventually, the person she named as her attacker was charged but, as we waited for the court case, Kayley went to pieces and cried a lot.

 ”She missed lots of school. Then I noticed a cut on her arm as more appeared, I realised she had done them herself. The police, her teachers and support workers were all sympathetic and we got lots of help for Kayley but we couldn’t stop her self-harming.

”She took overdoses, too, even at school. They got used to rushing her to hospital, as I did. It was heartbreaking watching my little girl crumble. I just wanted the court case to be over. But each time that the date approached, it was adjourned.

“It finally went to court when Kayley was 16. She gave evidence by video-link but the defendant was later acquitted.

She added: ”I was devastated. I had promised Kayley it would turn out OK.

The police officers felt terrible, too. They said they felt they’d let her down. Kayley blamed herself, as if it were her fault she’d been raped. She believed everyone would think she was a liar.”

But although the second man was acquitted, Kayley’s mother never gave up on her battle to get justice for Kayley and find the first man who molested her daughter on holiday.

The case was reopened last year when Mrs Mitchell called police in the mistaken belief she saw the suspect on a TV programme.

Detectives began re-examining the original case files, eventually unmasking Londoner Frank Dent in February this year.

Today, the pensioner, from Hackney, started a year in jail after he pleaded guilty to a historic offence of indecent assault.

He was also issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for five years.