Man jailed for 27 years for child sex offences

A man has been jailed for 27 years for multiple child sex offences which took place in Wirral more than 30 years ago.

Raymond Hawthorne, 59 years, formerly of Crescent Road in Bolton, was sentenced to 27 years in prison and eight years on extended licence at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday, 14 May, after he was found guilty following a trial in March to multiple sexual offences towards children.

He is already under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and a Sexual Offender Notification Requirement for life.

Following a long investigation, detectives charged Hawthorne and he was convicted of 14 counts of child sex offences including rape of a boy under 16 years (namely 12-13 years), indecency and indecent assaults on children dating back to 1980s and 1990s when he lived in Wirral.

One of Hawthorne’s victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, gives an account of the significant impact the abuse has had on him.

He said, “For as long as I can remember I have lived a life of fear. The fear of Ray, of being in trouble if anyone knew what was going on. I had feelings of embarrassment, guilt, remorse. I was so young, and I questioned if any of it was my fault or not.

“As I started to get older, I realised what was going on was wrong. I was a boy, and I was very embarrassed that it had happened to me. I was scared to talk about it with anyone. I felt ashamed, I didn’t think anyone would believe me and I wasn’t a strong enough to deal with what was going on. He was a big, strong man and I was just a kid.

“As I got to my teens, I became aware of a change in me – my personality, my feelings, my mind – I became angry and frustrated. Looking back, I think I shut down. I think I stopped caring and loving others.

“He deprived me of my childhood and ultimately the person I should have become.

“I struggle maintaining relationships. I met my daughter’s mum and were together for nearly 10 years. She did everything to help me, she loved me a lot and because I couldn’t function as a normal person, I let her and my daughter down.

“The relationship broke down because I couldn’t show empathy and I didn’t’ have the ability to relate my feelings which I put down to the trauma of my childhood. I deeply regret what I put them through and wish I had dealt with things differently.

“It has only been the past five years that I have found a little peace and tried to put the past behind me. I hope that those hurt by this case can now heal and move forward.”

Detective Constable Lauren Blackmore from RASSO team (Rape and Serious Sexual Offences) said, “This sentence follows an investigation to bring Hawthorne before the courts so that he pays for his utterly depraved and manipulative actions on young boys.

“This result was only possible thanks to the sheer determination and bravery of his victims. Despite Hawthorne denying the offences, a jury saw through his lies and he will now spend a considerable amount of time in prison.

“The court heart that Hawthorne displayed predatory behaviour on young boys where he would win their trust by buying them gifts and preyed on their innocence when committing such acts.

“As you can imagine for victims of such an appalling crime, the impact on them is significant and long-lasting. I hope this sentence provides some comfort in knowing they did the right thing by reporting his heinous crime to us.”

Detective Constable Blackmore added,  “I hope this sentencing shows that time is no barrier in reporting offences to Merseyside Police and we will take every report extremely seriously, regardless of when it occurred.

“We are completely committed to protecting children from sexual abuse and those who seek to do them harm.

“If you have experienced any form of sexual abuse, or know of a child being abused, please come forward and report this to police. 

“We take all such reports extremely seriously and if you can find the courage to come forward and speak to us we have specially trained officers who will treat you with sensitivity and compassion.”

If you are a child or young person suffering sexual or physical abuse, the following organisations can also provide help and support:

NSPCC – call 0808 800 5000 or e-mail help@nspcc.org.uk
Childline – call 0800 1111

If you’ve been affected by sexual violence of any kind don’t be afraid to tell someone, find the courage to come forward and get the help you deserve.

You can report rape, sexual assault and other sexual offences anonymously here: https://www.merseyside.police.uk/ro/report/rsa/alpha-v1/advice/rape-sexual-assault-and-other-sexual-offences/how-to-report-rape-sexual-assault-other-sexual-offences/

There is a lot of support available from specialist officers within Merseyside Police and through the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Victim Care Merseyside service delivered jointly by two registered charities.

In Liverpool, Sefton, and Wirral, support is provided by Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (RASA) Merseyside who are available on 0151 558 1801 and, in St Helens and Knowsley, by the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) Cheshire and Merseyside who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063.

Merseyside Police also works with other UK forces, agencies and the Child Exploitation Online Protection centre as well as law enforcement agencies across the world who share our determination to protect children from dangerous offenders online.

Here is a guide by Merseyside Police and The National Crime Agency’s CEOP Education team on how to help protect children and young people from online child sexual abuse:

Image: Raymond Hawthorne/Merseyside Police

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