Judges reject bid by paedophile to reduce sentence

A PAEDOPHILE who subjected a young girl to a litany of historic sex abuse cannot complain about his tough sentence, top judges ruled today.

Keith Robert Eldridge, 69, touched the girl and made her perform sex acts on him when she was under the age of 10 in vile offences which dated back several decades.

Eldridge, of Victoria Avenue, was jailed for 10 years at Lewes Crown Court for September last year.

He was convicted of three counts of indecent assault and four of indecency with a child.

During a hearing on Tuesday morning, three senior judges at London’s Appeal Court have now rejected a sentence challenge by the sex offender.

The judges said his crimes deserved such a “harsh” punishment.

Mr Justice Hickinbottom said Eldridge made his young victim pleasure him, repeatedly touched her privates with his fingers and once licked her.

The victim kept the abuse a secret for many years after Eldridge said she would get into trouble if she told.

But the girl eventually reported it to the police.

Eldridge denied any wrongdoing.

He claimed that his conduct towards the girl had always been innocent but he was not believed by the jury at his trial at Lewes Crown Court.

On appeal, his lawyers said the convictions had left Eldridge a “broken man” and argued that his overall jail term was much too high.

But Mr Justice Hickinbottom, sitting with Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice, and Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, disagreed.

Justice Hickinbottom said: “While we can accept that the aggregate sentence was harsh, in our view, this offending warranted a harsh sentence.

“We consider that a 10-year sentence after a trial is neither wrong in principle nor manifestly excessive.”