A VILE paedophile who was convicted of abusing a child in a public swimming pool 37 years ago is finally behind bars after sexually assaulting another young girl.

Bolton Crown Court heard how, in 1984, Patrick Kelly was at a swimming pool when he touched a girl’s private parts inside her costume.

He was fined for the offence.

“I don’t wish to comment unduly on sentencing regimes 30-odd years ago, but they were very different times,” said Judge Timothy Stead.

“If it arose today I am fairly confident it wouldn’t be a fine.”

Kelly’s sexual interest in children continued and he has now been jailed for three years after he sexually assaulted a nine-year-old girl on three occasions.

Daniel Calder, prosecuting, told how Kelly knew the child’s family and the offences occurred while she was watching television with him.

They were unaware of his previous conviction.

The court heard that they were in a living room together one evening, both sat on the couch, when 65-year-old Kelly told her: “You can put your legs up on me.”

The little girl obeyed but then he put his hand inside her clothing and underwear and touched her private parts.

Kelly kept his hand there for up to 40 minutes as he watched television.

Mr Calder said there were then two further occasions when Kelly repeated the offence in a similar way.

Kelly was arrested after the little girl told her mother what had happened.

“He denied the offence initially, claiming that any contact he may have made would have been accidental and not sexually motivated,” said Mr Calder.

Kelly, of Tabley Road, Bolton, eventually pleaded guilty to three counts of sexually assaulting a child.

In a victim statement the girl’s mother told the court how the little girl was quiet, shy and very sensitive.

“I believe Patrick Kelly has taken advantage of her young age and her personality,” said the mum, who added that, as a result of the abuse, her daughter has become emotional, clingy and scared to leave the house.

Helena Williams, defending Kelly, told the court: “He does express regret and remorse for this offending, particularly the impact this has had on the girl.

“He still can’t explain why he did what he did.”

She added that he had a heart condition and, earlier this year, was seriously ill with Covid-19 and is still suffering from the after-effects.

Kelly continues to maintain that he does not have a sexual interest in children which Judge Timothy Stead described as “untenable”.

“The defendant, in my view cannot sensible claim he has no sexual attraction to children,” he said.

Miss Williams  told Judge Stead, that, after Kelly’s swimming pool conviction he was not given any help to deal with his behaviour.

“They were less enlightened times,” said Judge Stead.

In addition to the jail sentence, Kelly was placed on the sex offenders’ register and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for life.