Child abuser, 81, jailed for 29 years for rape of two children which left young victims with devastating long-term problems

An 81-year-old man is facing the prospect of dying in prison after he was sentenced to 29 years for the rape of two children.

David Hughes
David Hughes

David Hughes denied the offences but was convicted after a trial at Durham Crown Court.

Judge Christopher Prince told Hughes it would be for the Parole Board to decide if Hughes is ever released.

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The court heard Hughes' victims were both traumatised by their ordeal at his hands.

"It will always effect me," said one of the victims.

"At the time I felt disgusting, dirty, even when I was clean, I felt as if I wanted to bleach myself.

"I found it difficult to talk to people, and I didn't like being outside in large groups, I would get panicky.

"I didn't like dressing or undressing if anyone was around, so it was difficult to do some things such as going swimming.

"It was even hard for me to eat in front of a lot of people."

The victim said she was 'scared to be a girl' and found herself more comfortable doing activities usually associated with boys.

Prosecutor Sean Dodds told the court Hughes forced the girls to perform sex acts on him, telling them no one would believe them if they complained.

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He bought one of the victims a hat, and when she thanked him he told her she could do something for him in return before sexually assaulted her.

Hughes, 81, of Greencroft, South Hetton, was charged with 14 sexual offences.

He was convicted of four rapes of a child, and convicted of four offences of sexual assault.

Michael Bosomworth, defending, said: "He stood his trial, he still denies the offences, so there is nothing I can properly say in mitigation.

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"All I can ask is the court bears in mind the principle of totality, and the significant impact the inevitable lengthy sentence will have on an 81-year-old."

Judge Prince sentenced Hughes to 29 years in prison, made up of 12 years for the offences against one victim, followed by 17 years for the offences against the second victim.

The judge told Hughes: "It was almost cringingly painful to watch one of the victims in her taped police interview being hardly able to detail what had happened to her.

"The sentence I have passed should give young people the protection they are entitled to expect from the courts.

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"You will do half of the 12 years, then you will serve two-thirds of the seventeen years.

"Release at that point will not be automatic, it will be for the Parole Board to decide if you are safe to be released."

The judge made Hughes the subject of a restraining order banning him from ever contacting his victims.

Hughes must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.