‘Guilty secrets’ catch up with pensioner who still claims abuse victim was ‘willing participant’
A pensioner who molested two young girls – and still claims one of them was a “willing participant” in his abuse – is behind bars today.
Peter Hughes’ past finally caught up with him as he faced justice for his “guilty secret”, a court heard.
The 67-year-old sexually assaulted one underage girl almost four decades ago, when he was in his 30s, by kissing her, touching her and getting her to touch him.
She did not remember him groping her but he confessed to doing so in a police interview, Teesside Crown Court heard on Tuesday.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, revealed what he did at the time but was “disappointed” when nothing was done about it, said prosecutor Ian West.
The fact he “got away with it for so long” caused her anger and anguish in the years that followed, she later said in a statement.
“I’m relieved and grateful that he will answer for it now,” she added.
She told how the crimes “scarred” her as an adult, clouding her relationships with others and affecting her trust and feelings of self-worth.
“As a mother I feel sickened that an adult should take advantage of innocent children in this way. I hope he’ll reflect on the damage he’s caused me,” she said.
Hughes sexually assaulted another young girl last year, telling her it would be a secret.
That girl’s mother said she did not understand the gravity of what happened to her yet, but the crime had a “devastating” impact and far-reaching repercussions.
Hughes, of Coatham Road, Redcar, admitted one charge of sexual assault, four of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child.
John Nixon, defending, said: “He’s a man without previous convictions of any kind, but of course he had this guilty secret about what happened all those years ago.
“He was married, hard-working, self-employed and supported his family well, both financially and spiritually.
“He made full admissions in relation to all offences. He entered pleas at the earliest possible opportunity.
“He has clearly expressed genuine contrition. He has made a clean breast of everything knowing that his life will never be the same again.”
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, expressed “deep concern” about the attitudes Hughes showed to a probation officer.
He said Hughes did not consider his behaviour to the first victim abusive, felt they would have limited impact and, in his eyes, she was a “willing participant”.
The judge reminded Hughes of her young age at the time, saying: “There was nothing willing about it whatsoever.
“On the other hand there is without doubt the fact of a degree of genuine remorse as to what you’ve done, because you admitted the offences straight away and made further admissions to a doctor in Roseberry Park.”
He told Hughes he had to bear full responsibility for the devastating effects of his actions, and jailed him for five years and eight months.
Hughes was given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order banning him governing his contact with under-16s.
Pensioner facing jail after admitting schoolgirl sex assaults
A pensioner is facing jail after admitting sex assaults on two schoolgirls .
Peter Hughes, 67, from Redcar, was given the news yesterday by Teesside’s most senior judge.
Hughes pleaded guilty to seven sex charges, ranging in date from September 1979 to August 2016, at Teesside Crown Court at an early stage plea and trial preparation hearing.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual assault, four of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child.
Hughes, of Coatham Road, Redcar, was remanded on bail for a pre-sentence report and sentencing on Tuesday, December 19.
Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, told him: “You have had the good sense to plead guilty.
“The fact that I am adjourning it for you to see a probation officer should not lead you to think that anything other than a custodial sentence will be considered.”