January 2006

Pervert is jailed for touching 10-year-old

A WINSFORD man who incited a 10-year-old to engage in sexual activity and touching has been jailed.

Thomas John Joseph Lawlor, of Swanlow Lane, appeared at Chester Crown Court last Wednesday after admitting both charges, which took place in the town on July 8 last year.

Paul Smith, prosecuting, said the girl saw the 60-year-old former HGV driver ‘messing’ with himself while visiting the property with her mum.

He added: “Through the window was the defendant in front of his mobile home. She said he waved at her. He wanted her to see him.

“When her mother returned, he put his finger to his lips as if to say, ‘do not tell anyone’.

“She visited his home and believed him to be masturbating behind a piece of furniture.

“He asked her to ‘give me a hug while I mess with it’.

“He attempted to kiss her with an open mouth and was grabbing her hand trying to move it towards him.

“He explained ‘that’s what girlfriends do’.”

Defending, Matthew Dunford said the dad-of-two regretted his behaviour, adding: “He described it as a moment of madness.

“It should not have happened. He is remorseful and wishes he could turn the clock back.”

But Judge Stephen Clarke said custody was inevitable, adding: “On the one hand we are dealing with someone who has led a blame free life but, on the other hand, the way you have behaved towards a child can have done nothing more or nothing less than caused real harm to that little girl.

“It is the duty of the court to make it quite plain that certain behaviour cannot be tolerated and to drive home the vulnerability of children and the need for that to be protected.”

Lawlor was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment – namely three months for inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity and 12 months for sexual touching to run concurrently – and will serve half that time.

In addition he was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.