A PERVERT who ruined a woman’s life after abusing her as a child 30 years ago has been jailed for six years.
Justice finally caught up with John Byers, 58, who regularly touched a young girl for his own sexual desires in the 1980s.
The father-of-three was found guilty at Teesside Crown Court of five counts of indecent assault, and a further 17 relating to child pornography found on his computers.
The victim, who cannot be named to protect her identity, relived the abuse she suffered at the hands of Byers during a four-day trial last month.
Describing the effect the offences had on his victim, Shaud Dodds, prosecuting, said: “She indicated at the time of the abuse she would wake up crying.
“She would say to her mum she felt sick and was having awful nightmares but was effectively too scared to say anything to her parents.
“She went on to describe the effect it has had on her life and mentions depression for the last six years.”
When police questioned Byers in 2012 about the sexual abuse, they also discovered he had downloaded 475 indecent pictures of girls, around the same age as the victim was, on his computers.
Analysis of the computers showed he had carried out searches for terms such as “schoolgirl” and “pre-teen”.
He claimed he stumbled across them accidentally while looking for adult porn.
But Judge Howard Crowson said he did not believe him. He added it showed he still had an interest in underage girls, even if he had not acted on it since the 1980s.
Byers, of Everett Street, Hartlepool, was found guilty of 16 charges of making indecent images and one of possessing indecent images of children.
The court heard he has no previous convictions, and continues to claim his innocence.
Lorraine Mustard, mitigating, said: “There has been no suggestion this type of offending behaviour has been repeated since these incidents in the mid 1980s.”
Judge Crowson said: “She should have been safe. She would have been, except you had an interest in her.
“She was innocent and, as is common, although aware what was happening to her was wrong, she didn’t have the knowledge to recognise it for what it was until she was older.
“She lived with that burden and kept it to herself.
“She has been affected by your behaviour all her life. She said you ruined her life.”
Byers will be added to the Sex Offenders’ Register for life. He was also slapped with an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order restricting his future contact with girls under 16 and his access to the internet.