A child abuser has been jailed for five years after being found guilty of a string of indecent assaults on two young boys.
Andrew Burton, 45, abused the boys in a variety of ways and Teesside Crown Court heard the victims have been unable to get over what had happened to them.
One of the victims told the court he had ‘gone off the rails’, getting into trouble with the police, something which he blamed partly on the abuse he suffered as child.
Burton was found guilty of eight charges of sexual assault in a retrial after a jury earlier this year was unable to reach verdicts.
Prosecutor Paul Cleasby told the court the abuse happened more than 20 years ago.
“The defendant had a computer,” said Mr Cleasby. “As you may imagine, that was a big attraction at the time because not many children had them.
“Games used to take a long time to load, and Burton used this time to abuse the two boys.
“He did this in a variety of ways.”
Mr Cleasby added: “At the time the boys didn’t know if what was happening was right or wrong.
“The prosecution say Burton took advantage of their naivety.
“The police were informed many years later.
“When interviewed, he told police he had not abused any boys.
“He said he was a late developer, and as a teenager he preferred the company of boys younger than himself.”
Burton, of Whitfield Drive, Hartlepool, denied eight charges of indecent assault of a child.
He was convicted of all charges after a trial lasting five days.
Stephen Constantine, defending, said in mitigation: “There is nothing I can properly say about the offences because I cannot go behind the jury’s verdicts.
“Mr Burton was a man of previous good character, and has not offended in any way since this course of conduct.
“He lives on his own, his computers were examined when he was arrested and nothing was found on them to cause any concern.”
Judge James Spencer jailed Burton for five years.
The judge told him: “It is right you were immature for your age, but you were also old enough to know better.
“This was a long time ago, but you still have to be punished for it.
“That you haven’t offended since is no mitigation, had you offended in the meanwhile the sentence could have been double figures.”
Burton must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.