A former fairground worker who abused children as young as five has seen his jail sentence extended to 16 years by law lords.
Warren Kirkby, 61, who abused four girls between 1977 and 2006, was initially jailed for 12 years at Bolton Crown Court by Judge Timothy Stead at the end of July.
But an appeal concerning the punishment was lodged by the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, on the grounds that the jail term was unduly lenient.
Lord Justice Davis, sitting at the Court of Appeal’s criminal division in London, with Sir David Calvert-Smith and the Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Acton QC, has agreed with the referral.
Kirkby, of Westleigh Lane, Westleigh, had pleaded guilty, before the Bolton hearing, to 12 offences of indecency with a child, eight of indecent assault and two of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.
The offences were said to have taken place between 1977 and 2006 and came to light when one of the victims reported the matters to police in the summer of 2014.
Speaking after the original sentencing, Det Sgt Stuart Round commended the “bravery” of the victims for coming forward and supporting the police investigation, which discovered that some of them were as young as five or six when the abuse began.
He added: “The effect this has had on them has been profound, but with their help, we have been able to ensure Kirkby is behind bars and cannot prey on any more young girls.
“This has been a difficult and harrowing inquiry that has taken three years for justice to finally be found for these victims. Kirkby is a sexual predator who abused children for decades.
“This sentence reflects the fact that if you commit serious sexual offences, time will not be a hiding place and eventually you will be caught.”
Once he is released Kirkby will still be subject to a 12-month extended licence period, as imposed by Judge Stead.