April 2019

Lorry driver Bernard Mitchell jailed for abusing two girls

A lorry driver who sexually assaulted two North Yorkshire sisters in his vehicle has been jailed for 12 years.

Bernard Mitchell, 73, used threats to keep the older sister silent, Conor Quinn, prosecuting, told York Crown Court.

She didn’t know that during the period when he was abusing her, he was also abusing her younger sister.

Only when she finally broke her silence nearly two decades later, did she learn the truth.

Mitchell, of Church Lane, Carnaby, near Bridlington, pleaded guilty to five charges of indecent assault and four of gross indecency and was jailed for 12 years.

Quoting the words of the younger sister speaking to police, Judge Simon Hickey said: “The abuse became so frequent it just became ‘normal’.”

Mitchell was put on the sex offenders’ register for life.

He was also made subject to a lifelong sexual harm prevention order banning him from contacting either sister, having any contact with any girl under 16 and from sleeping in the same house as any girl under 16.

For him, Alex Menary said there was little he could say.

Mitchell was taking medication for high blood pressure and another condition.

After the offences came to light, he had been cut off by his family and his wife of many years had left him.

Mr Quinn said Mitchell began abusing each girl when she was about nine years old. In all the abuse lasted for five years.

In January 2018, now a grown woman, the older sister told the younger sister what had happened to her.

“She….was horrified to hear her sister had been abused in the same way,” said Mr Quinn.

In her victim personal statement, the older sister said the abuse had made her sexually aware at a very young age and this had caused her problems at school and in forming relationships in her adolescent years