A FOREST pensioner has been jailed for five-and-a-half years of sexually abusing his granddaughter between 2007 and 2015.

Judge Ian Lawrie KC imposed the sentence at Gloucester Crown Court, although the 79-year-old man, who had been found guilty of seven charges of sexually touching a girl when she was aged between four and 11 by a jury, has lodged an appeal against the conviction.

David Scutt, representing the pensioner, said the appeal had been lodged in April this year, following his conviction the previous month and he requested that the sentence hearing be adjourned to avoid a ‘custodial hokey cokey.’

Prosecutor Anjal Gohil explained that legally there were very limited grounds on which the conviction could be appealed.

“A pending appeal does not mean a sentence cannot go ahead and this should go ahead today,” she argued.

Ms Gohil added that the victim has found the entire process very stressful and the case has been hanging over her for a very long time. The impact on her had been dramatic. The offences were historic, she said.

Judge Lawrie rejected the adjournment proposal and told the pensioner that his past had now caught up with him.

“I take the view that you took advantage of the girl when others were not around. This was a persistent course of assaults against your granddaughter between the ages of four and 12,” said the judge.

“The frequency of offending and the nature in which they occurred means that only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified.

I cannot ignore your offending as this was a breach of trust as your victim was vulnerable.”

The prosecutor explained during the trial that the sexual abuse came to light when the victim attended a programme aimed at raising aspirations of higher education. She had sent her youth worker a text message saying that she had something to tell him that she hadn’t divulged before.

She explained what had happened between her and her grandfather from when she was aged just four.

By the age of 12 she realised that this should not be happening and she refused to stay with her grandparents.

The jury was told that in his police interview the man denied any offending and said he thought he had a good relationship with his granddaughter.

Mr Scutt said: “There is no point in requesting a pre-sentence report. He has shown little remorse having denied the accusations throughout.

“This has split the family and there will never be any contact again between this man and his granddaughter. He is not a well man, suffering from a variety of medical issues. He doesn’t feel sorry for himself, but rather his wife.”

Appearing by video link the victim told the court that she has suffered in forming personal meaningful relationships with men, by making the wrong choices, because she thought that abuse was normal.

She said that she is still undergoing counselling and added that she chose to testify against him so that he couldn’t interfere with the next generation.

The judge subjected the man to life-long sex offender registration and to the terms of a sexual harm prevention order.