Published: 10:42, 20 June 2022
| Updated: 14:19, 20 June 2022
A paedophile who molested two children blamed one his victims, saying she became flirtatious after watching Love Island.
Laurence Hughes, of Folkestone, isolated and attacked the vulnerable girls before freely admitting his devastating crimes to Kent Police.
When Hughes, 80, was arrested he said one victim was “flirting” with him and “plotted” to be attacked, prosecutors said.
“He blamed television for the behaviour of young girls, namely Love Island,” Andrew Howarth explained.
The former soldier attacked one victim over a decade ago and another more recently.
One of the victim’s mothers told how her child has self-harmed after suffering severe psychological trauma following the abuse.
The woman, who attended court to watch Hughes being sentenced, said in a statement: “I have felt completely useless (because of) the hurt you have caused my child every day - she didn’t deserve this.
“How could you? How dare you? Who else have you done this to? I’m terrified of you.”
Hughes, of Burrow Road, was remanded in custody in March after pleading guilty to five counts of sexually assaulting a child, relating to two victims, at an early opportunity.
Mitigating, Nargees Choudhary said Hughes has been “subjected to stringent conditions” in jail and recently “suffered the loss of his dog”.
“He tells me he is remorseless for his actions and he doesn’t have anyone to blame other than himself,” she said.
She told the judge “maybe it’s easier (for him) to blame television and the girls” for his actions, rather than himself.
Handing down a sentence of eight years with an additional one year on licence, judge Catherine Brown told Hughes: “(Your) warped mindset demonstrates just how self absorbed you were and are. You and you alone are responsible for your actions as an adult man against young children."
Hughes, who walks with a cane, could be seen sitting, dressed in a blue shirt, often scanning the courtroom as the prosecution presented its case.
But he became increasingly subdued as the hearing reached its conclusion.
Judge Brown added: "You have caused each of your victims great pain and psychological harm which they each have to live with for the remainder of their lives."
Hughes will be subjected to a lifetime of notification requirements and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order until further notice.