A MAN convicted of sexually abusing a young girl in Blackburn has been jailed for six years.

Patrick McCann was also placed on the sex offenders register for life and when he is eventually released, he will be on an extended prison licence for three years.

McCann, 61, now of no fixed address, had denied eight counts of indecent assault. A jury had convicted him following trial. The offences occured in the Blackburn area.

McCann had 51 previous offences on his record, though none of a sexual nature.

Judge Andrew Woolman told McCann "It is clear that only a custodial sentence is appropriate.

"I have come to the conclusion there has to be a substantial sentence of imprisonment . The normal licence period would not be sufficient to protect the public from you."

His barrister told a Preston Crown Court sentencing hearing that the defendant's life had been "turned upside down" when he was charged with indecent assault.

Ken Hind told the court: "At his age, facing a sentence of imprisonment for an offence of this nature, he is going to be on protection all the way through, with the appropriate restrictions.

"He is facing the deep disapproval of the rest of the prison. That isn't going to make life easy for him, as he has found already while he has been in custody.

"While he has been in custody his ex wife has died. He was not there to look after her in her dying months. He wasn't able to go to the funeral.

"He has lost his home while in custody and has lost friends who he had met in the local mosque. When he converted to Islam he gave up drink.

"He was regularly at prayers. They have turned against him. The defendant doesn't have a great deal left in his life.

"He appreciates the sentence must be a lengthy one. His whole future will be surrounded by regulation. He will become a pariah in the community".

McCann will be on the sex offenders register for life and banned from working with children. He will also be the subject of a sexual offences prevention order for an indefinite period.