A man who once complained about living next door to a convicted paedophile has been jailed – for being a paedophile.
Darren Higham, 53, once complained to his local newspaper that he was furious his housing association didn’t tell him his neighbor was a sex offender. But he is now behind bars for subjecting a child to a series of sordid sexual abuse from the age of seven until she was around 11.
The abuse ranged from kissing and touching the child to forcing her to perform sex acts on him on more than one occasion. His sick offending came to light when he was spotted with the victim, prosecutor David Watson told Liverpool Crown Court.
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Mr Watson said the person who saw them felt like something “wasn’t right” so contacted social services. The victim later told her mum that she’d been sexually abused by Higham for “ages”.
The child told the police how Higham, a self-employed musician, used to kiss her and put his penis on her and recalled on one occasion how he had touched her. She also told them how he asked her not to tell anyone about the abuse as it would mean he would be sent to prison.
The traumatized girl said would sometimes pretend to be tired and fall asleep in the hope that Higham’s abuse would stop. When police approached Higham, of Chaffinch Close, Birchwood, about the alleged offences, he self-harmed and was hospitalized insisting he had no sexual interest in children.
But he later confessed to the abuse saying “something triggered” inside him. Defending, Gary Lawrenson said that prior to these offences, Higham was a man of good character.
He told the court how Higham has shown genuine remorse and is willing to engage in any work with the probation services. Mr Lawrenson said: “He does not seek to minimize his actions in any way, shape or form.”
Higham penned a letter to the court which read: “There are no words to say how much devastation and remorse I feel. I stand before you with acceptance of any punishment that you deem fit.” He was jailed for four years, issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years and made subject to a restraining order.
Speaking after sentencing, Detective Constable, Chris Orme of Cheshire Police said: “I hope the sentence brings some closure for the victim. This young person showed great courage coming forward to report what had been happening.
“This ultimately meant that Darren Higham could be put in front of the court, where he pleaded guilty to these awful crimes.”
In 1999, Higham told his local newspaper he would never have moved into the house he was living in had he known about his neighbour’s predatory past and demanded to be relocated.
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