A PENSIONER with dementia who molested two boys decades ago is to be detained in hospital, a judge has ruled.

David Massingham was deemed unfit to stand trial back in February because of his memory loss and confused state.

However, a jury still heard his case and convicted him of ten indecent assaults and an offence of buggery.

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The 77-year-old had denied the abuse, said to have been committed more than 30 years ago.

Judge George Moorhouse, sitting at Teesside Crown Court, heard evidence from various psychiatrists who assessed Massingham’s mental state and recommended how he should be treated.

The judge said having heard all the evidence he was persuaded to make the defendant subject to an indefinite hospital order under the Mental Health Act.

He also considered him a continued serious risk to children.

A section 41 order – known as a restriction order – was also imposed meaning he cannot be released from hospital without the agreement of the Secretary of State or an independent tribunal.

Judge Moorhouse said a sexual offences prevention order on Massingham was not appropriate, although he will have to alert police if his circumstances change, as a registered sex offender.

The court heard how Massingham, of Kendal Court, Middlesbrough, had come into more recent contact with two other young children, although it was not suggested they were abused.

His barrister Brian Russell, who had asserted a hospital order was unnecessary, said there were “suspicions, no more”.

He said it should not be overlooked that the pensioner’s offences were more than 30 years old and he had not amassed any convictions in the intervening years.

A previous statement from one of his victims said Massingham had destroyed his and his family’s life. He said his marriage had broken down and he was unable to sleep because of the impact of the abuse.

The man, now an adult, also said he believed he had been targeted and was given “treats” as part of a grooming process.

Massingham was remanded in custody and will be transferred to Middlesbrough’s Roseberry Park hospital.