December 2004

‘Pillar of community’ jailed for abusing girl

A MAN previously described as a pillar of the community was last night beginning a two and-a-half year jail sentence for sexually abusing a young girl.

Former miner Alan Eilbeck was said to have groomed the ten-year-old girl and indecently assaulted her on four separate occasions.

Teesside Crown Court was told how Eilbeck, 62, touched his victim’s private parts and committed a sex act on her.

On one occasion he indecently assaulted her after sitting her on his knee in a garden shed.

Eilbeck, of Local Avenue, Sherburn Hill, near Durham City, had denied four charges of indecent assault between June last year and February 2004, but was convicted last month by a jury.

Jailing him, Judge Tim Hewitt said: “You abused a position of trust with this girl who was entitled not to be treated in this way by you.”

The judge said Eilbeck would have to serve an extra two years on licence after his release from prison and receive treatment on a sex offenders’ program.

He ordered that he sign on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely and said that he should have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16, for an indefinite period.

Eilbeck, who was said to be in ill health, had received a number of character references with regards to his standing in his local community.

His barrister, Adrian Dent, said: “He is well thought of by others and in all respects has been a good citizen.”

He added: “There is absolutely no excuse for what happened and he is genuinely sorry.”