Harpenden paedophile pensioner is jailed

A HARPENDEN pensioner was jailed for 14 years last week for the sexual abuse and repeated rape of a young girl in Hoddesdon.

Patrick Davitt, 79, denied 20 charges of rape and sexual abuse of the same victim when he appeared at St Albans Crown Court in April.

The former soldier, who had previously lived in Grove Road, wore a hearing aid as he stood in the dock.

When Davitt gave evidence he admitted touching the girl under and over her clothes and kissing her but said: “I have never had sex with her anywhere.”

He told the jury of seven women and five men that after contracting diabetes in 1995 he suffered sexual problems that stopped him having an erection.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Davitt had told her that if she complained, “nobody was going to believe a stupid little girl”. She also said he told her he was getting her ready for boyfriends when she was older.

Defence barrister Graham Arnold argued that a long sentence could mean that Davitt, who has high blood pressure and diabetes, would die in jail.

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He said: “Statistics show that people with that condition die earlier than others. The defendant may not see liberty again.”

Davitt had, his barrister argued, lived a blameless life until the majority of the offences were committed in his late 60s. He said Davitt had told him he knew it was wrong.

Judge Marie Catterson told him: “You sexually abused the victim in the most serious ways when she was very young and you continued to do so. You have shown no element of remorse of the harm you have done.

“These were sample counts of what happened many, many, many times when the victim was aged between the ages of eight and 12.

“This was the repeated rape of a young victim over four years when she was at a vital stage of her development. There is no mitigation for these offences.”

He was convicted of one charge of rape and two charges of indecent assault when the girl was aged eight or nine, one charge of rape when she was aged ten or 11 and two of indecent assault, one of rape, one of assault by penetration and one of sexual assault when she was 12. He was also charged with one count of sexual assault last year, which triggered the police investigation.

He was cleared of one charge of rape and five of indecent assault when the girl was aged seven.

The judge directed the jury not to return verdicts on charges of sexual assault, assault by penetration and three other rapes. Those charges will be left on file.