November 2018

He got away with sexually abusing young girls on his farm – until two went to the police years later

A man who carried out a string of sexual assaults on young girls has been jailed.

Clifford Mark Hale, 58, abused three young girls in the 1990s and early 2000s at his farm in Lowton, Wigan

Hale, who later moved to an address on The Highway in Pontypool, Gwent, has been jailed for six and a half years after being found guilty of five counts of indecent activity with a child and one count of indecent assault of a girl under the age of 14 at Bolton Crown Court on Friday.

Police have praised the bravery of the three women for coming forward, years after the abuse took place.

Two of the victims went to a police station to make complaints of historic sexual abuse against Hale in March 2016.

The incidents took place when the girls were visitors to Hale’s then-home in Lowton.

The first victim was aged around 10 in the late 1990s when she was abused.

She was playing a computer game when Hale grabbed her hand and forced her to touch him inappropriately.

He then put his hand up her jumper and touched her inappropriately.

When the girl went to bed, Hale entered her room and exposed himself, asking her to touch him.

She refused and – when other children entered the room – he covered himself and left.

The second victim was also 10 when Hale violated her in 1999.

She fell asleep while watching a film and woke up to find Hale carrying her upstairs to bed. She trusted him and went back to sleep.

When she woke for a second time she was in a bed upstairs where Hale grabbed her hand and made her touch him inappropriately.

During the police investigation a third victim then came to light, who was around seven when she stayed at Hale’s address in the early 2000s.

While she was alone watching TV, she heard someone make a noise and looked to see Hale in the doorway wearing a dressing gown, exposing himself to her.

Hale was arrested in relation to the first two victims in April 2016 and then detained again the following June.

He was charged in November 2017 after repeatedly denying the allegations when questioned by police.