Man, 73, jailed for sex assault on girl

A 73-year-old man from Ryedale who sexually assaulted a young girl has been jailed for more than three years.

Patrick O’Donnell, of Main Street, Westow near Malton, appeared in court for sentence yesterday. He had already pleaded guilty to the assault as well as possessing indecent images of children and extreme pornography.

O’Donnell, who the court heard is in poor health and has not worked since and industrial accident in the 1990s, now faces a prison sentence of 40 months and is likely to spend half of that time behind bars.

On Thursday prosecutor Jo Kidd told the court O’Donnell had groomed the child before the assault and then told her to keep it a secret.

At the same hearing, O’Donnell was sentenced for possessing of more than 100 indecent images of children including 11 at the most serious category A classification; and 133 extreme pornographic images.

Police had found the images on O’Donnell’s hard drive, the court heard, as well as search terms indicating he had looked for indecent images of young girls.

For O’Donnell, defence barrister Patrick Palmer, said his client had been “as candid as he could have been” with a probation worker dealing with his case. O’Donnell had volunteered information about the indecent assault which police had not known, he added.

Admitting the offence, and telling his family, had been very difficult for O’Donnell, and that guilty plea was an important mitigating factor in O’Donnell’s favour, Mr Palmer added.

Mr O’Donnell also disputed claims that O’Donnell had taken photographs during the assault, and Judge Andrew Stubbs later said that while it was clear O’Donnell had photographed the child he could not be satisfied that happened on this particular occasion.

Judge Stubbs gave O’Donnell a three year prison sentence for the assault charge, followed by four months for the images of children to run concurrently with three months for the extreme pornographic images – making a total prison sentence of 40 months.

He also made O’Donnell subject to a sexual harm prevention order stopping him having contact with girls under 16 and forcing him to hand over internet browsing records to the police.

A second sexual assault charge, which O’Donnell denied, was dropped by the prosecution.