A former children’s nurse who abused a girl may have made “deliberate career choices” because of his sexual interest in kids, a judge has told a court.
Howard Crowson also said Hitch was had a “high risk” of offending again.
James Hitch, now 39, committed six offences of indecent assault against the little girl when he was 18, Teeside Crown Court heard.
He was handed an extended sentence reserved for dangerous offenders, GazetteLive reports.
In March 2018, he was given a suspended 18-month prison sentence for making indecent pictures of children.
Police had found 754 disturbing images after seizing a hard drive, tower computer, tablet and notebook from Hitch’s home.
He then confessed he got addicted to “all types of pornography” and downloaded hundreds of images for years.
But his offending did not stop there and Hitch committed further breaches of his sex offender notification requirements.
Earlier court hearings were told how Hitch had trained as a nurse and worked locally in the NHS, but had a breakdown in 2013 and lost his job in 2015.
He had also volunteered for St John Ambulance.
Hitch had denied committing the historic crimes against the little girl but was convicted by a jury after a trial.
His victim, who is now grown up and cannot be named for legal reasons, wrote a moving statement which was read out to the court.
She said Hitch’s “selfish and destructive offending… destroyed any chance of me having the healthy and happy childhood I deserved.”
Hitch “weaved a web of lies and deceit”, she said, “and failed to show any remorse or responsibility for the inexplicable and unnecessary suffering you inflicted on me.”
“It’s now time you face the consequences of your despicable crimes,” she said.
“This does not now mean I live happily ever after.
“You should never have done those things to me but I will never let them destroy me. I hope I can start to rebuild the parts you have broken.
“I am a strong, truthful, powerful woman and of all you have taken from me, this you will never.”
It was also pointed out that at the time of the offending, when Hitch was 18, he was of previous good character.
Hitch, now aged 39, appeared at court via videolink from Durham Prison.
He showed no emotion as Judge Howard Crowson said he may have made “deliberate career choices” because of his sexual interest in children.
The judge also said he had “a high risk” of causing potential future harm and imposed a 10-year extended prison sentence.
The sentences are reserved for prisoners who are assessed as dangerous, but for whom a term of life imprisonment is not justified.
Hitch, of Stockton-on Tees, must serve at least two thirds of his sentence behind bars and the remainder would be on licence.