A man who committed a string of disgusting sex offences against a young boy he was supposed to be caring for was jailed.

Thomas Birtley, 55, was convicted after trial of five counts of historic sexual assaults against the child, which took place nearly 40 years ago.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Birtley, who himself was aged around 16 to 18 at the time of the offences, was regarded by the victim's family as trustworthy enough to babysit for them.

But he betrayed that trust by committing a string of sexual offences against the boy, who was aged around eight, and which have left him traumatised for life.

The offences took place in the victim's family home in Speke. The court heard that despite Birtley's youth, he was working in a job at the time.

Ben Jones, prosecuting, said it was a "course of persistent, serious offending."

Mr Jones read out part of the victim's impact statement, in which he said he felt he had symptoms of PTSD and was "extremely distressed at having to relive these matters," adding: "There's a little boy inside me screaming out for answers."

Liverpool Crown Court

Trevor Parry-Jones, defending, said "while not seeking to minimise the effect on the complainant" of Birtley's offending behaviour, he had received "glowing family references as a caring, hard-working, loyal, decent member of society."

He added: "This was a brief but very, very unfortunate period in his life."

Recorder Mark Ainsworth sentenced Birtley, of Freame Close, Stroud, Gloucestershire, to a total of six-and-a-half years in prison for the offences.

Mr Ainsworth told him: "You were held in high regard as trustworthy, but you held a secret.

"The personal anguish caused to the victim by you as a teenager was plain for all to see when he gave evidence.

Read More

Top news stories

"I feel sympathy for members of your family who are supporting you in court today, but I have no sympathy at all for you."

Members of Birtley's family cried out "we love you" and cried and hugged each other as he was led down to the cells.