A paedophile destroyed the life of a young girl he molested.

Robert Hird, 35, targeted the girl who was under 13 on two separate occasions in Crawley.

The first instance was when she was just seven years old, while the second happened in his van this year.

Judge Jeremy Gold KC said Hird’s actions had left a “catastrophic impact” on the girl's life. 

Hird cowered with his head down in the dock as details were read out of the "terrifying" ordeal he subjected her to.

A statement read out on behalf of the girl’s mother said she was “constantly reminded” of the incidents and her attendance had dropped at school.

Ryan Richter, prosecuting, said: “There has been a significant change in her behaviour. I can only describe her as destroyed by it, she is barely sleeping anymore. She gets flashbacks of going past the place he took her.

The Argus: Robert Hird was jailed on MondayRobert Hird was jailed on Monday (Image: Sussex Police)

“Before the incident, she was very sociable, she was always going out with friends. She tried to go out with friends after the incident but thought she saw him and froze in fear, she does not go out anymore. She is constantly reminded of it.

“Her brain is in complete turmoil, she has started having angry outbursts. It has changed everything about her life and personality. Her quality of life has been sucked out of her. She is so sad constantly.”

The girl wrote in a victim impact statement read out in court that she has flashbacks and her main emotion now is “anger and being moody”.


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Andrew Forsyth, defending, said Hird struggled with alcohol and cocaine addiction.

Hird, of no fixed address, had nine convictions for 16 different offences which were mostly low-level violent crimes.

Judge Gold sentenced Hird to seven years in prison, although this was reduced to four years and eight months due to his early guilty plea. Hird will also serve six years on licence and will be a registered sex offender for life.

For the first offence, Hird was given a two-year sentence to run concurrently. He pleaded guilty to two counts of engaging in non-penetrative sexual activity with a girl under 13.

Judge Gold said: “I am prepared to accept that you are disgusted by your behaviour. I hope you have some understanding of the catastrophic impact it has had on this girl. It must have been an absolutely terrifying experience.”

Hird was sentenced on Monday, April 29.