War veteran, 91, jailed for sexually abusing four-year-old

A NINETY one-year-old Second World War veteran who subjected a young girl to a three year campaign of sexual abuse has been jailed.

Herbert Hayman was locked up for 15 months after he admitted sexually touching his victim in the 1990s, beginning when the girl was just eight.

Southampton Crown Court heard how Hayman, who served in the Second World War, would kiss and touch his victim, all while forcing the girl to touch him back.

Judge Nicholas Rowland admitted the offences were “too serious” for Hayman to avoid a custodial sentence, even at 91.

He said: “You are 91-years-old now and I appreciate and accept what has been said both in court and in your pre-sentence report about your deteriorating mental state.

“But these are serious offences for which a custodial sentence can be imposed.”

He added: “These incidents had a distressing affect on her (the victim) both in her past and continue to impact her now.”

The court heard how the indecent assaults took place between 1995 and 1998, when the girl was between eight and 11-years-old.

In mitigation, Gemma White said Hayman had been having suicidal thoughts.

This included an incident just days before his sentencing, in which he turned up to his son’s house threatening to overdose on prescription medication.

Ms White also said that Hayman was aware of the “serious nature” of his crimes and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

She asked Judge Rowland to consider not jailing Hayman, due to his age and the historic nature of the crimes.

But Judge Rowland sentenced him to two 15 month concurrent terms for indecent assault and a further six months, also concurrent, for another indecent assault.

He will also have to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.

At age 91, Mr Hayman is ten years short of being Britain’s oldest convict.

That title belongs to Ralph Clarke, who was jailed for 13 years last December, age 101, after he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing children as young as four,