Graham Winstanley, 54, of Appley Lane North, Appley Bridge, was yesterday sentenced for nine counts of sexual assault on two victims aged between 11 and 15 years.
The convicted child abuser, who laughed and grinned multiple times in the dock during the hearing, was sentenced by Judge Timothy Stead at Bolton Crown Court following his conviction
in late November. He was found guilty on all counts by a jury at Bolton Crown Court last month.
Winstanley initially pleaded not guilty to the original 11 charges. But, after two of them were dropped, he was found guilty of all the remaining charges.
The paedophile was charged with two counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, three counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, one count of assault of a child under 12 by penetration and three counts of sexual activity with a child.
The court heard how he groomed his victims from a young age, offering them alcohol in order to gain their trust before sexually touching them.
Tears were shed from the public gallery as one victim, who cannot be named, stood to tell the defendant the significant impact he had on her childhood and her adult years.
“I have felt so much guilt,” she said. “Before I could even establish what I was guilty about.
“As I got older I started to feel guilt about overreacting, I thought much worse is happening to other people every day. I didn’t have the right to feel so low...so dirty.
“A big part of me wanted to tell people what you had done…your family did not deserve to feel their grief. I feel guilt and grief and shame.
“You will have to live with the knowledge of what you have done for the rest of your life. Us, on the other hand, we are free.”
Defending barrister, Geoffrey Lowe, told the court how Winstanley was of previous good character, with no prior convictions and who had behaved as such during the course of the trial.
During his sentencing comment Judge Stead explained how the sexual abuse had spanned from 2007 until 2013.
“The defendant was a predatory sex offender,” he said. “In the cases of both girls he engaged in grooming activity and various devices to camouflage what he was doing.
“The offending he has been found guilty of spans a number of years.
For all nine charges, Winstanley was sentenced to a total 14 years and ordered to sign the sexual offenders register for the rest of his lifetime.