June 2018

Paedophile walks free from court 

A vile paedophile who sexually abused eight children over almost two decades has walked out of court a free man.

Family members of Brian Heffron’s victims sighed “what’s the point?” after a judge told the 80-year-old he was a free to leave Plymouth Crown Court.

Heffron, who suffers from dementia, was deemed unfit to stand trial after he was charged with 12 offences against children.

At a previous hearing to determine the facts of what had happened, a jury unanimously agreed the former dockyard worker brazenly took advantage of girls and a boy. His victims were as young as five.

Today, sentencing Heffron, Judge James Townsend said the court was “very limited” in its options.

Heffron, who appeared in court with no carer or support from friends or family, received an absolute discharge for his vile acts, meaning no further action will be taken against him.

When a victim came forward in 2016, police launched an investigation into the sexual predator, who was previously convicted of abusing children in the 1950s and 1960s.

The trial heard Heffron, branded an “irrepressible paedophile” by prosecutors, invited one girl into his shed to show her his rabbits but then sexually assaulted her. She was eight or nine at the time.

He also abused children and young people in his house and even groped a stranger coming home from the shops more than 20 years ago, the jury was told.

He denied the offences in a series of police interviews, saying that all the complainants had got together to tell lies.

Heffron, now of Wollaton Grove, Higher St Budeaux, was charged with 11 offences of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child between 1979 and 1997.

The jury found he had committed all the acts he had been accused of.

Judge Townsend told Plymouth Crown Court the only sentences available were a supervision order to control his behaviour in the community or a discharge.

“There is no order that can realistically be made,” he added.

The pensioner will be on the Sex Offender Register for five years.

Judge Townsend added that, as a result, Heffron’s carers would be made aware of his offending behaviour.

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