He ruined the lives of two young boys but paedophile still won't admit his twisted obsession

Raymond Hawthorne
Raymond Hawthorne -Credit:Merseyside Police

A paedophile gave a boy pot noodles laced with drugs before sexually abusing him.

Raymond Hawthorne subjected two children to sickening campaigns of assault and rape. He lavished one of the youngsters with expensive gifts, including trainers and a bike, as he exploited him for his own twisted desires.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the now 60-year-old "preyed upon, groomed and sexual assaulted" his victims in the Birkenhead area over the course of around 10 years in the 1980s and 90s. One recalled being aged as young as five when Hawthorne, of no fixed address, began abusing him.

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Robert Dudley, prosecuting, described how the pervert would put his hands down the complainant's trousers and touch his penis, as well as perform sex acts upon him. His vile behaviour continued for years and ultimately "escalated" to him raping the boy on two occasions before "chuckling" at his cries of pain.

In a statement which was read out to the court on his behalf, he said: "For as long as I can remember, I have lived a life of fear. 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 started to realise that what was going on was wrong.

"I was scared of talking about it with anyone. I felt ashamed, I didn't think anyone would believe me.

'I'm not that vulnerable young boy anymore and he's not that strong man'

"He was a big strong man, and I was just a little kid. He deprived me of the childhood I should have had and ultimately the person I should have become.

"It is only in the last four to five years that I have found a little peace and tried to put the past behind me. I'm not that vulnerable young boy anymore and he's not that strong man."

Hawthorne was meanwhile said to have taken the second child on trips away to Blackpool and theme parks and "bought him extravagant gifts" such as clothing, training shoes and even a bicycle, as well as plying him with alcohol and drugs. The now three-time convicted sex offender then "smacked his bottom" and forced his hands into his pants and sexually assaulted him.

This victim also described being given pot noodles during visits to his abuser's house, then "remembering nothing" before waking up naked and realising he had been assaulted. Hawthorne, who was later said to have attempted to "bribe" him with cash, denied his appalling crimes when finally confronted decades later and claimed that the allegations had been "fabricated for compensation".

The second complainant said that Hawthorne's actions had resulted in an "indescribable impact" upon him. He added in his statement: "I've been beating myself up my whole life, acting wounded and feeling sorry for myself.

'He cannot harm any more children'

"I've been to hell and all of those dark places over and over again, sometimes not knowing if I could go on and unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Child abuse has lifelong effects, the consequences of which can't ever be fixed.

"I'm still finding it all difficult to process, the fact that justice has finally been done. I don't believe the psychological effects will ever go away, but I am feeling slightly more positive and believe there is a light at the end of that long dark tunnel.

"I desperately want to start living. I want my life back, I want me back.

"He cannot harm any more children. This gives me hope for the future.

"I realise the past cannot be change. But my future can."

Hawthorne, formerly of Crescent Road in Bolton, has a total of 23 previous convictions for 77 offences - including for assault occasioning actual bodily harm against his partner in 2001, which saw him imprisoned for six months, before he was given nine years in 2004 after admitting offences including conspiracy to commit indecent assault and conspiracy to live off the immoral earnings of prostitution. This came after he exploited boys aged as young as 12 for cash, having recruited customers via gay chat lines.

He also indecently assaulted one of the children himself. Hawthorne was released from this sentence in December 2012, but was then arrested again in May 2013 on suspicion of controlling prostitution and subsequently handed 10 years plus an extended four years on licence at Bolton Crown Court in 2014.

The defendant represented himself in court on Monday, having last week sacked the counsel that represented him at trial. From witness box, he stated that there had been "no evidence whatsoever of any drug" being found in the pot noodles and reported that the complainant merely said the snack had "tasted funny".

Hawthorne sat making notes with a pen and paper

Hawthorne added: "I've never been involved in drugs. I've never taken drugs in my life or had anything to do with drugs, ever.

"All of my offences are all to do with running a business. To say I've been convicted of anything other than that is wrong.

"There was no indecent assault. It never happened."

Hawthorne also told the court that it's "rubbish" that he had committed any sexual offences. He said of his convictions at Leeds Crown Court 20 years ago: "When I found out his age, I did nothing.

"I was a coward. At that point, he got no more work.

"They were never forced or coerced. I believed at the time it gave them better working conditions.

"I have heard many stories from people who work the streets whether they were battered, raped, thrown in canals or not being paid. I've now come to terms with that there is no justification.

"I no longer have those misguided beliefs, but back then I did. When I was in the newspapers, it's left me vulnerable that anyone can now make allegations.

"It was fake news and not correct. I have been in custody for many years now.

"Being convicted of historical offences requires no evidence, just someone saying 'he did that to me' and they are going to be believed. Because these offences happened many years ago, witnesses who could have helped me are no longer here.

"I would be on my hands and knees asking for forgiveness. I would have pleaded guilty.

"My vice is gambling. I never drank, I never smoked, I never contemplated any involvement in drugs whatsoever. I estimate losing, over the years, approximately £750,000.

"I say I've not committed any sexual crime apart from selling sex. I just ask your honour to give me hope of a crime free lifestyle."

Hawthorne was found guilty of two counts of rape, 10 charges of indecent assault and two offences of gross indecency with a child by a jury. He was jailed for 27 years, a term of which he must serve at least two thirds before becoming eligible for release, this morning and handed an additional eight years on licence.

Appearing via video link to HMP Liverpool, Hawthorne showed no reaction as he was locked up and instead sat making notes with a pen and paper. He was also told to sign the sex offenders' register for life.

'You have sought to blame everyone other than yourself'

Sentencing, Judge Gary Woodhall said of the first victim: "He describes a life filled with fear, embarrassment, shame, guilt and remorse. He was deprived of a normal childhood."

The judge added of the second complainant: "You groomed him by giving him things that he could not get at home. As time went on, you also offered drink and drugs to him.

"As he got older, he finally realised that you had been drugging him. I am satisfied that you were drugging him in some way, using food that you had been giving him to do this.

"What you did to him has affected him for his whole life. He is numb, angry, alone, isolated and confused.

"Each separately has had to live life with the pain and embarrassment you caused them. You attacked the character of each victim.

"You sought to portray yourself as a force for good. You lied repeatedly to the jury.

"Your abuse of these two young children was the beginning of a lifelong obsession involving the abuse and exploitation of young boys. I am perfectly satisfied that you are sexually interested in young boys and will use them sexually.

"You have continued to maintain your innocence. You maintain a complete lack of sexual motivation for any of your offending.

"All of this shows that you continue to have a complete lack of any insight into your own offending and deviant motivations. There is a complete lack of remorse.

"You addressed me yesterday for over an hour. You continue to minimise your behaviour.

"You present as utterly unable to understand the harm you have caused to children by your actions. You have sought to blame everyone other than yourself.

"This shows a complete lack of understanding for your predicament, motivation and risks. You are in complete denial - whether deliberately or, more probably, because you are simply incapable of admitting and understanding the obvious."

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