A 59-YEAR-OLD man who abused young girls for more than 20 years has been sent to prison.

Joseph Mullen, of Birch Hall Avenue, Darwen, was found guilty by a jury of inappropriate activity with the four youngsters after a week-long trial.


A court heard how they had suffered ‘intense distress'’ at having to relive what happened to them, with one of them suffering nightmares and being ‘greatly scarred’ by her ordeal.

The judge was also told that the girls had reported what had happened to them before, but that ‘no action was taken’.

The abuse involved children aged 10 to 15.

Judge Pamela Badley, sitting at Preston Crown Court, said Mullen had shown ‘no remorse’ for his actions and that he posed a ‘significant risk to the public’.

She told the defendant: “I have read very moving victim personal statements from all the victims and I saw them during the trial and the pain that was etched on their faces.

“Your view with regard to what happened has been that of denial.

“You do pose a significant risk of serious harm to children through the commission of further significant offences.

“This risk is aggravated by your sexual attraction to children and your reluctance to admit to any such sexual deviancy.”

Mullen was convicted of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, three counts of sexual activity with a child, 10 charges of indecent assault, another three of indecency with a child and a final count of inciting in sexual activity with a child.

He was found not guilty of one indecent assault charge.

Judge Badley sentenced Mullen to 14 years in prison with an extension period of six years to provide extra protection to the public.

He was also made subject to a sexual offences prevention order, made to sign the sexual offenders register, was disqualified from working with children and will pay a statutory surcharge of £120.

Jane Dagnall, defending, said Mullen had no previous convictions for similar offences, although he had been convicted of a kidnap and assault.

She said: “This man remains in denial.

“Until and unless he does accept any responsibility, the prison authority will not be able to work with him.

“He is on antidepressants and he has some issues with his mental health.

“He has behaved himself in custody. He has a job and he has engaged in education.”