A MAN who systematically abused a child for seven years has been jailed.

Former Hartford resident Dale Pendleton-Briers, 32, will spend 12 years behind bars after admitting to a string of sexual offences.

He began grooming the victim when she was just 10 years old, tricking her into thinking that what he was doing was acceptable.

His actions came to light when the victim reported it to police in 2021, launching an investigation by Cheshire Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People Unit.

DC Herminder Hira said: “I hope seeing justice done today will help the victim with their ongoing journey to recovery. I would like to acknowledge the bravery they have shown and their belief in the Criminal Justice System. Trauma no matter how long ago is still very raw and the toll it takes should never be underestimated.

“I hope others are encouraged by this victim’s bravery to come forward, no matter how long ago the abuse took place. It doesn’t always have to end in a court case, just telling someone and being believed is a vital step for anyone who has suffered in this way.”

DC Hira added: “The victim was supported from the moment they made the call to us right through to the court process. As well as our specially trained officers, we have a network of support services which we can direct the victim to, to get professional help and advice.

“The victim, and others who have experienced similar offending, will continue to get the support they need from these specialist agencies to help them rebuild their lives.”

Northwich Guardian: Dale Pendleton BriersDale Pendleton Briers (Image: Cheshire Police)

When the abuse began, Pendleton-Briers told the victim, who was several years younger than him, that it was just a game.

However, it became more serious and the victim became increasingly upset, with Pendleton-Briers insisting it was just experimentation and that there was nothing wrong.

The abuse stopped for a year but began again when the victim was 13, causing her mental health to deteriorate.

At 17, she began to receive counselling, giving her the tools to confront her abuser who then left her alone.

After more counselling, the victim told her family and was later able to find the courage to tell the police.

When Pendleton-Briers was interviewed he denied the allegations and said his victim had made them up.

However, a review of his mobile phone revealed he’d made many searches of extreme pornography and the sexual abuse of children.

He was interviewed again on April 22, 2022, and answered 'no comment' to the questions.

On September 27, 2023, he was charged with 28 offences of sexual abuse of a child and possession of indecent images.

He pleaded guilty to 19 of the charges at Chester Crown Court on November 30 2023.

Pendleton-Briers, now of Latham Road in Manchester, was sentenced today (January 25) at Chester Crown Court.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Lydia Durkin, a specially trained lawyer in the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences unit of CPS Mersey Cheshire, said: “Dale Pendleton-Briers used his victim almost as some sort of experimental toy for him to do whatever he wanted with.

“What he systematically failed to acknowledge was that his victim was a human being who did not want any of this to happen.

“She has had many years of counselling that has helped her see this as the dreadful destruction of her youth. She gained the skills to end what was happening to her and finally told the police and he has been brought to justice for his crimes.

“The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank her for her persistence and courage in supporting this prosecution. We hope all the efforts she is making to rebuild her life bear fruit.”

Alongside the prison sentence, Pendleton-Briers was handed an indefinite restraining order, an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order, barred from working with children and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.