A JUDGE praised the dignity of a family who heard disturbing details of how their two young girls were abused by a paedophile in North Yorkshire.

John Burns, 60, of Station Court, Easingwold, was jailed for 11 years today (Thursday, May 1) after earlier pleading guilty to six counts of sexually assaulting a young girl over a six-year period.

He also pleaded guilty to four counts of taking an indecent photograph, one count of sexual touching and one count of voyeurism.

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The abuse came to light after one of his victims confided in her friends who then encouraged her to write to a teacher about what had happened.

Speaking about the primary victim, Judge Howard Crowson told Burns: “She was very clearly groomed by you from an age before she had any true understanding of the true nature of your behaviour, even if she knew she didn’t like it."

Robert Mochrie, for Burns, described the paedophile’s behaviour as “appalling”, adding: “There is nothing I can say really that can mitigate his actions; to do so would be an insult to the family who I am well aware are sat in court today.”

Jailing Burns for a total of 11 years at Teesside Crown Court, Judge Crowson thanked the girls’ family for the “quiet manner and dignity” displayed throughout the hearing.

Speaking afterwards, Detective Constable Rich Hampson, of Northallerton Protecting Vulnerable Person’s Unit, said: “Hopefully he (Burns) will spend his time in jail reflecting on the years of torment he put his victims through and the lasting impact it will have on them for the rest of their lives.”