Hailsham man sentenced for child sex offences

James Johnson: 'Sentence reflects seriousness of the offences'
James Johnson: 'Sentence reflects seriousness of the offences'

A Hailsham man has been sentenced to 27 years for sex offences against children.

Retired James Johnson, 75, of Douglas Close, was charged in January with three counts of rape of a girl under 13, five counts of assault of a girl under 13, two counts of attempted rape of a girl under 13, four counts of possession of indecent images of a child, two counts of taking indecent images of a child, one count of making an indecent image of a child and one count of causing a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

He initially appeared at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on February 15 and pleaded not guilty to all offences.

At a subsequent hearing at Hove Crown Court on July 7, he pleaded guilty to one count of rape and two offences of taking indecent images of a child and was due to stand trial for the remainder of the offences on July 31.

He appeared again at a further hearing on July 14 at Hove Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to a further 11 offences; two rapes of a child under 13, two attempted rapes of a child under 13, five sexual assaults on a child under 13, one causing a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity and one failing to comply with a notice requiring disclosure of passwords.

He was remanded into custody on that occasion by HH Judge Gold to face trial for the remainder of the offences on July 31.

On that date he appeared again at Hove Crown Court in front of Judge Gold and pleaded guilty to the remaining offences on the updated indictment, meaning he had now pleaded guilty to a total of 20 offences. These being three counts of rape of a girl under 13, five counts of sexual assault of a girl under 13, two counts of attempted rape of a girl under 13, one count of causing a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity, five counts of possession of indecent images of a child, three counts of taking indecent images of a child and one count of failing to comply with a notice requiring disclosure of passwords.

He was today (Thursday, August 24) sentenced to 27 years by Judge Gold who said he would serve 20 years in prison and seven on licence.

Detective Constable Tania Snashall from Sussex Police Safeguarding Investigations Unit based in Eastbourne said, “The courage and bravery of the two young victims in this case has to be highlighted as without them making the disclosures they did, we would have never known about the horrific abuse that they suffered.

“The victims and their families’ lives have been irrevocably changed by the actions of Mr Johnson. Their courage has continued throughout the past 14 months to get this matter before the court. I am pleased by the defendant finally accepting what he had done and pleading guilty. The victims were spared from the further ordeal and trauma of giving evidence.

“The sentence of 27 years reflects the seriousness of the offences for which he was charged. The addition of him being sentenced for the offence of failing to comply with a notice requiring disclosure of passwords I would hope will send a clear message to anyone who thinks that trying to hide evidence from the police, will result in us securing further charges to highlight this deviousness and outright blatant disregard for police and court processes.”