A man who committed a string of sexual assaults against young girls in Wigan has been jailed.
Clifford Mark Hale of The Highway, Pontypool, Gwent – formerly of Mossley Hall Farm in Lowton – abused three children aged between seven and ten-years-old during the late 1990s.
At Bolton Crown Court on Friday 2 November Hale was sentenced to six and a half years in prison after being found guilty of five counts of indecent activity with a child and one count of indecent assault of a girl under the age of 14.
The judge also imposed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for an indefinite period and a five year restraining order. He will also be required to remain on the sex offenders register for life.
In March 2016 two women attended a police station to make complaints of historic sexual abuse against Hale.
The incidents took place when the victims were visitors to Hale’s home at Mossley Hall Farm, Byron Lane, Lowton.
The first woman was aged around ten in the late 1990s when she was abused.
She was playing a computer game when Hale grabbed her hand and forced her to touch him inappropriately.
He then put his hand up her jumper and touched her inappropriately.
When the girl went to bed, Hale entered her room and exposed himself, asking the girl to touch him.
She refused and – when other children entered the room – he covered himself and left.
The second woman was also around ten years old when Hale abused her in 1999.
She fell asleep while watching a film and woke up to find Hale carrying her upstairs to bed. She trusted him and went back to sleep. When she woke for a second time she was in a bed upstairs where Hale grabbed her hand and made her touch him inappropriately.
Early in 2018, the victims who did not know each other previously, made contact on social media and discussed what had happened to them.
During the police investigation a third victim then came to light, who was aged around seven when she stayed at Hale’s address in the early 2000’s.
While she was alone watching TV, she heard someone make a noise and looked to see Hale in the doorway wearing a dressing gown, exposing himself to her.
He stood there for a while before tying his dressing gown back up and walking away.
In April 2016, Hale was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault relating to the first two victims. In June, he was further arrested on suspicion of exposure in relation to the third victim. In November 2017 he was charged after continuing to deny the allegations during police interviews.
Detective Constable Nicola Wood of GMP’s Specialist Protective Services said: “The victims and witnesses in this case wanted to safeguard any other young children from falling victim to Hale.
“They have shown a great deal of courage in coming forward to report these offences and we owe them a great deal of thanks for highlighting Hale’s manipulative, predatory nature.
“Hale abused these girls when they were very young children, during times when they were visiting his home address and should have felt safe in his care. Instead he seized the opportunity to sexually abuse them.
“We are pleased that Hale is behind bars and hopefully this will provide the victims with some closure to enable them to move forward with their lives.”