May 2018

Predatory paedophile, 90, collapses in dock as he’s sentenced

A 90-year-old paedophile collapsed in the dock as he was sentenced half a century after ruining a young boy’s life.

Henry Heaton was taken to hospital after appearing to lose consciousness and was helped into a wheelchair by prison staff before being wheeled to a waiting ambulance.

Despite Heaton’s sudden absence the judge carried on sentencing – and jailed him for 10 years.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the predatory paedophile befriended his six-year-old victim, who had been beaten and neglected by his parents, in 1960s Huyton and groomed him with sweets and trips to the cinema.

Heaton, now of Chester Close in Runcorn, forced the boy to perform sex acts and raped him in the auditorium and toilets of Liverpool Cinema.

The boy was also taken to an address in Huyton, where he was abused by Heaton and another unknown man.

The court heard the abuse only stopped years later when the boy “was old enough to run away.”

Judge Gary Woodhall, passing sentence, said: “It is clear (the victim) and his siblings had a miserable upbringing. Their parents didn’t care about them, their father beat (the victim) and he would regularly be punished by being locked outside in the coal bunker overnight.

“Against that background, perfectly understandably, he was seeking the attention he was not getting at home which made him an easy target for abuse.”

Martyn Walsh, prosecuting, told the court how the trauma of the offences led the victim to start drinking at 13 which then led to hard drugs including heroin.

A harrowing statement from the now adult victim, read in court, said: “I just wanted to take so many drugs that I never woke up. I didn’t care whether I died or not…

“He stole my childhood and the rest of my life as well. I will never be rid of the horrible things he did to me.

“I despise Henry for what he has done to me. I don’t want him to die thinking he got away with he has done to me.”

The victim said he was able to kick his heroin habit with counselling, but said he still suffers from flashbacks and “bad thoughts” about the abuse.

Heaton was convicted of 15 counts of indecent assault by a jury yesterday after a week long trial.

The court heard the pensioner, who has no other convictions, is in the early stages of vascular dementia and has been diagnosed with cancer.

Anthony O’Donohoe, defending Heaton, said there was “precious little” he could say on his client’s behalf due to his denials.

He said: “The reality is, it is sad to say, at his great age he is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.”

Judge Woodhall said he was constrained by the more lenient sentences available under the law at the time the offences were committed.

However Heaton was classed as an “offender of particular concern,” meaning he can only be released early if a parole board concludes he is no longer a risk to the public.

Heaton was also ordered to remain on the sex offenders’ register for life.

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