November 2016

‘No, I’m a virgin’ – pensioner asked girl, 13, if he could place his hand down her knickers

A PENSIONER persuaded a 13-year-old girl to return to his flat before making an indecent suggestion in his front room, a court heard.

Seventy-two-year-old Dennis Keane’s contact with the youngster had started off with an innocent conversation about his chihuahua, Burnley Crown Court was told.

She had stopped to sit on a park bench in Barrowford, on her way home, and Keane joined her with his dog.

Prosecutor Peter Barr said Keane then told the girl that he liked her trainers and she returned the compliment.

The girl later told police she may have been trusting but she said she agreed to go back to the OAP’s flat nearby. He asked her if she had a boyfriend and she told him she didn’t.

The court heard Keane then told the girl he had a partner, whom ‘he only saw for sex’.

Once inside the pensioner’s home, in Maud Street, he offered to make her a cup of tea. He sat next to her on a settee and placed his hand on her knee, the court heard.

Mr Barr said he asked whether he could place his hand down her knickers.

“She said ‘no’, I’m 13, I’m a virgin,” Mr Barr added.

Keane asked again and she repeated her refusal before getting up to leave, the court heard.

The incident was reported to the police and the pensioner was later arrested at his home.

He told police he remembered the girl but insisted he had returned home with his dog before she came to call on him.

Keane initially denied having any sexual contact with the girl or making any indecent remarks.

But at a crown court plea hearing he admitted sexual assault and inciting an under-age girl to become involved in sexual activity.

Andrew Nuttall, defending, said his client had daughters and grand-daughters of his own and was clearly ashamed of what he had done.

Keane had been divorced for 20 years now and would confess that he had allowed his life to deteriorate. The offences may have been caused by his loneliness in recent times.

“It is a sad case in that respect,” said Mr Nuttall.

Keane was given a 12-month community order, with 20 days of rehabilitation activities arranged by the probation service.

Judge Jonathan Gibson also issued a five-year sexual harm prevention harm order, limiting his day-to-day contact with females aged under 16, and told he must sign the sex offenders’ register for the same period.

Passing sentence, Judge Gibson said: “One never knows in a case like this what kind of psychological harm the suggestion you made could have on a young girl like this.”