November 2008

Man jailed for sex acts on three girls

A 65-year-old former sailor has been jailed for sex offences against three young girls.

Brian Hearns shared a prison cell with murdering paedophile Ronald Castree while locked up on remand for seven months, Bradford Crown Court heard.

He was imprisoned for 23 months on Tuesday after a judge heard his victims suffered guilt, depression and sleeplessness.

The offences, from 1982, took place in Bradley, near Skipton. The court heard Hearns had a previous conviction for indecent exposure in 1966 when he exposed himself to two women.

Hearns, whose offending cost him his marriage, pleaded guilty last month to indecent assault, indecent exposure and sexual activity in the presence of a child.

Prosecutor Tom Storey said the offences dated from 1982 and took place in the village of Bradley.

Hearns, of no fixed address, had a conviction for indecent exposure dating back to 1966.

The court heard he exposed himself to two women in Plymouth.

Mr Storey said Hearns told police he was disgusted with himself when interviewed about his behaviour towards the girls.

Victim impact statements revealed one of the children, now grown up, had suffered anorexia and bulimia. She said she had been depressed ever since the abuse.

Another spoke of stealing vodka and taking her feelings out on her school teacher.

Hearns’s barrister, Sophie Drake, said he had been in custody for seven months on remand.

“These are serious offences but at the lower end of the sex offences scale,” Miss Drake said.

She said Hearns had a difficult time behind bars.

“He has been exposed to some fairly unpleasant people in custody and has not found it easy,” she said.

His cellmates included Ronald Castree, jailed at Bradford Crown Court a year ago for the sexually-motivated murder of 11-year-old Lesley Molseed.

Miss Drake said alcohol had played a part in Hearns’s life since he left the navy many years ago.

“When in drink he acts upon sexual feelings which come upon him,” she said.

He felt genuine remorse for his actions.

Judge Roger Scott made an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning Hearns from having unsupervised contact with any children. He must also register as a sex offender for ten years.