Pervert is jailed 24 years after attack in Blackpool flat

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

A pervert who indecently assaulted an 11-year-old girl as she sat on his knee has been jailed for four and a half years.

Anthony Styles, 50, of Manan Close, Hemel Hempstead, was brought to justice more than 20 years after the vile attack at a flat in Blackpool.

This is a case where the family trusted the care of this little girl to the defendant. He was trusted to be alone with her

He had denied carrying out the act during a trial at Preston Crown Court but was found guilty by jurors.

In a personal imapct statement his victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said she had been psychologically affected by his actions when she visited his home in 1993. In the time since, he has been convicted of possessing indecent images of children among a collection of ‘naturist’ images, and sexually assaulting a 17-year-old woman.

Styles is now in a wheelchair because of a degenerative illness similar to multiple sclerosis

He will now be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life, Judge Robert Altham ruled.

The court heard his young victim was known to him through his partner’s family and that she would frequently visit after school.

Judge Altham said: “The victim was in habit of coming back to the flats after school.

“It is on one of those occasions, when she was in the defendant’s sole company in her school uniform, sitting on his knee, as the defendant watched TV.

“He only ceased from this conduct when his partner was coming in, at which stage he got up.

“Nothing was said at the time but she subsequently raised it with her and he made an admission of sorts. At the time he passed if off as accidental touching.

“But in his trial Styles denied the events ever took place. She has described that this incident has had a significant effect on her.

“There is properly stated an abuse of trust in this case. This is a case where the family trusted the care of this little girl to the defendant. He was trusted to be alone with her.

“I take into account this was a one-off incident that happened fleetingly and was not referred to again.

“There is no credit for a guilty plea because this man ran a trial.”

He added the more recent conviction meant he could not be regarded as a man of good character.

Styles will be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults, and was given a sexual harm prevention order.

Defending, Jon Close, said: “His partner helps him with day to day living.

“Obviously against that background prison will be a far more acute experience than for someone else.”