A Calderdale man who turned himself in to police and confessed his sickening abuse of a young girl has finally been jailed for more than five years.
Ian Hartley, 44, walked into Halifax police station back in June 2018 and told officers that he had abused the youngster, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, but a judge heard that despite his victim being interviewed back in August 2018 the defendant was released “under investigation”.
Hartley’s barrister Stephen Wood said it was “astonishing” that the court proceedings against his client were not started until July this year by way of a postal requisition.
He asked rhetorically what more did the prosecution need following his client’s second interview in October last year when Hartley again accepted all his offending.
The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC echoed a district judge’s description of the nine-month delay in starting the legal case as “deplorable”.
“This will have contributed in very damaging and measurable and quantifiable ways to the trauma and psychological upset to the victim,” said the judge.
“It is indeed a deplorable state of affairs....that in the face of such overwhelming evidence, frankness and cooperation this matter couldn’t have proceeded by way of charge and speedy resolution.”
Mr Wood said Hartley, of Little Bradley, West Vale, Halifax, had surrendered himself to the police to try and make things right and added:”He knows he can never turn back the clock, but what is obvious is the delay in this case must have compounded (the victim’s) anguish.”
Bradford Crown Court heard that Hartley had pleaded guilty to a series of sexual abuse charges relating to the complainant.
Prosecutor Camille Morland said some of the abuse involved Hartley simulating sexual intercourse with his victim.
Jailing him for five years and four months Judge Durham Hall said it was an almost unique feature of the case that Hartley had handed himself as a way of unburdening himself of his guilt.
“Sadly offences like this are committed, and as we speak are being committed, by men, and on occasions women, of high standing in their communities, apparently blameless, hiding a dark and dirty secret,” said the judge.
“What you suffered from was a complete collapse for reasons best known to yourself of your moral compass.”
Hartley will now have to register as a sex offender with the police for the rest of his life and he will have to comply with a sexual harm prevention order for a period of 10 years.