'Disgraceful' South Yorkshire man jailed for string of historic sex offences committed against young girls

Robert Bedford was jailed for 10-years during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday
Robert Bedford was jailed for 10-years during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday

'You are a disgraceful human being,' a judge told a South Yorkshire man as he jailed him for 10-years for a string of sex offences committed against young girls over a period spanning 20-years.

During a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday, Judge David Dixon jailed Robert Bedford for 14 sex offences including charges of indecent assault and gross indecency that were committed against six young girls between 1982 and 2002.

As he sentenced the 65-year-old to a decade in prison he told him: "You deserve every day of your sentence."

Bedford was found guilty of 10 sex offences following a trial in January, and admitted four offences prior to the beginning of the trial.

In additional to committing numerous sexual assaults, the depraved pensioner also performed sex acts on himself in front of most of his young victims.

The court heard how he tried to lure one young girl to meet him in the woods using the promise of a birthday cake.

Judge Dixon said: "I dread to think what would have happened if she had gone to meet you. Thankfully, she told her parents and the police, but sadly nothing happened."

Bedford's offending was finally brought to light when one of his victim's went to the police, after reportedly seeing a young child at his property some time later.

Defending, Francis Dunning, told the court that Bedford, of Wakefield Road, Barnsley had a clean criminal record, with the exception of an offence of indecent exposure in 2005 for which he was given a caution.

"The main point of mitigation I can make are the length of time since the offending occurred," said Mr Dunning, adding: "The other point of mitigation is his medical condition for which he needs dialysis three times a week and is a situation that is potentially life-threatening."

Judge Dixon also placed Bedford on the sex offenders' register for life.