Pensioner jailed for 27 years for sex offences against young girls

James Johnson is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars
James Johnson is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars

A 75-year-old man has been jailed for 27 years for sex offences against children.

James Johnson, of Douglas Close, Hailsham in East Sussex, was charged in January this year with three counts of rape of a girl under 13, five counts of assault of a girl under 13, two counts of attempted rape of a girl under 13, four counts of possession of indecent images of a child, two counts of taking indecent images of a child, one count of making an indecent image of a child and one count of causing a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

The victims, who were aged just five and six when the abuse began, live in Hertfordshire.

Johnson initially appeared at Hastings Magistrates' Court on February 15 and pleaded not guilty to all offences.

At a subsequent hearing at Hove Crown Court on Friday, July 7, he pleaded guilty to one count of rape and two offences of taking indecent images of a child and was due to stand trial for the remainder of the offences on July 31.

He appeared again at a further hearing on July 14 at Hove Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to a further 11 offences; two rapes of a child under 13, two attempted rapes of a child under 13, five sexual assaults on a child under 13, one causing a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity and one failing to comply with a notice requiring disclosure of passwords. He was remanded into custody on that occasion by HH Judge Gold to face trial for the remainder of the offences on July 31.

On July 31, he appeared again at Hove Crown Court in front of Judge Gold and pleaded guilty to the remaining offences on the updated indictment, meaning he had now pleaded guilty to a total of 20 offences. These being three counts of rape of a girl under 13, five counts of sexual assault of a girl under 13, two counts of attempted rape of a girl under 13, one count of causing a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity, five counts of possession of indecent images of a child, three counts of taking indecent images of a child and one count of failing to comply with a notice requiring disclosure of passwords.

On August 24 he was sentenced to 27 years by Judge Gold who said he would serve 20 years in prison and seven on licence.

The investigation was carried out by Sussex Police with support from officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Joint Child Protection Investigation Team who worked with the young victims to provide them with support and help secure Johnson’s conviction.

Detective Constable Hannah Wilkinson, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Joint Child Protection Investigation Team, said: “The significant sentence handed down to Johnson reflects the seriousness of his crimes and the risk he poses to children. Due to his age, he may well spend the rest of his life behind bars.

“The victims in this case, who knew their abuser, have been incredibly courageous and without their brave disclosures we may have never known about the abuse they were subjected to at the hands of someone they should have been able to trust.

“Hertfordshire Constabulary takes all allegations of sexual abuse seriously and we will investigate allegations robustly. You will be dealt with in confidence and dedicated officers will investigate your case sensitively and professionally.”

Officers from the Constabulary’s Joint Child Protection Investigation Team can be contacted by calling the Constabulary’s non-emergency number 101.