A 92-year-old Upper Eden man has been been given a suspended prison sentence for historical sexual assaults on two girls – some of which were committed almost 50 years ago.
Fredrick Arthur Bartlett’s offending came to light when the his two victims, as adults, made disclosures during counselling sessions about what he had done to them as youngsters during incidents separated by around four decades.
One of the females gave police specific details about the abuse.
“He would tell her this was their little secret, and that she should not tell,” prosecutor Tim Evans told Carlisle Crown Court.
After being quizzed by officers about the offending, Bartlett – a man with no other convictions to his name – admitted five crimes.
He pleaded guilty to three indecent assaults on one female which dated back to the 1970s and 1980s, and two sexual assaults on the other during the past decade.
Before he was sentenced on Friday, his barrister, Judith McCullough, spoke of a man in declining physical and mental health who suffered from the late onset of Alzheimer’s disease and had endured several lengthy spells in hospital during recent months.
Ms McCullough suggested the court was faced with a “stark choice” and appealed for Bartlett, of Newbiggin-on-Lune, near Kirkby Stephen, to be spared prison.
“These offences are serious. They plainly cross the custody threshold and would normally result in a period of immediate imprisonments,” she said.
“I would seek to persuade the court there are exceptional circumstances in this case.”
Judge Nicholas Barker said he was presented with a complex sentencing exercise, having also heard Bartlett would require a “significant input of resources” if incarcerated within a prison system already stretched during a period of pandemic.
In view of Bartlett’s failing health and age, Judge Barker suspended a two-year jail term for 24 months, and ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register for a decade.
“You are now a very old man. You have a number of health complication and difficulties,” said the judge, who told the pensioner his crimes had been committed “for your own perverted satisfaction”.