A pensioner paedophile has been jailed for sexually abusing a young schoolgirl before telling her he would be ‘killed’ if she told anyone about it.

John Dawson was branded a ‘monster’ after he carried out his vile attacks on the youngster last year and bravely, she plucked up the courage to tell her parents despite the pervert’s mind games.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 81-year-old kissed the child before sexually assaulting her.

Jane Waugh, prosecuting, said the girl told her father what had happened to her and the police were called.

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The youngster told officers that she was in her school clothes when Dawson abused her, the court heard.

Miss Waugh added: “The defendant told the girl not to say anything to anyone otherwise he would get shot and die.”

'Monster' caged

In a victim impact statement, the child’s mother said Dawson’s sickening attack had left her family devastated and called Dawson a ‘monster’.

She wrote: “How do I put into words what you have to me and my family? You have hurt my daughter and you have done something to her that we will never be able to forgive you for.”

The Northern Echo: John DawsonJohn Dawson (Image: Cleveland Police)

Dawson, of Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to two charges of digital penetration of a child under 13 and a further charge of sexual assault on a child under 13.

Victoria Lamballe, mitigating, said her client was of previous good character and had accepted that what he had done was wrong.

Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced Dawson to eight years in prison for the sickening attack and the threats made towards the young girl.

“Any case of sexual violence is a tragedy, even more so when the victim is a young child,” he said.

“It is aggravated even further by the wide age difference between her and you.”

The judge told Dawson that his abuse had done ‘incalculable harm’ to his victim and the true gravity of the damage caused to the girl may not be known for years to come.

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Dawson was made subject of an indefinite restraining order to protect his victim and her family.

The sick pensioner was also ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely and was issued with a life-long sexual harm prevention order.

Police reaction

Speaking after the sentencing, Sergeant Derric Wade of Cleveland Police’s Children and Vulnerable Adults investigation unit, said: “Thankfully the girl was brave enough to tell her parents straight away, who alerted the police and Dawson was arrested.

“It is down to the strength of the little girl and the support of her parents, in disclosing what had happened, that Dawson was convicted.

“Her parents were a credit to the investigation, in the calm and measured support they provided to their child when providing graphic details to police officers. This enabled officers to obtain strong evidence which in turn led to Dawson pleading guilty.”