A JUDGE has asked for more time to carefully consider the sentence he will pass on to a former football coach whom he described as a “prolific predatory paedophile”.

Anthony John Pickering, a 62-year-old Army veteran, is awaiting punishment for the sexual abuse of one young boy aged under 12 around the turn of the 1980s

He is currently serving a life prison sentence for a catalogue of sexual offending against children.

In 2020, he was ordered to serve a minimum of seven years behind bars. A prosecutor described child sex crimes with which Pickering had been convicted as “indiscriminate” with a judge who handed down punishment telling him: “You are a dangerous man.”

Two years earlier, Pickering had been given a seven-year prison stretch for sex crimes committed against boys during the 1970s. That sentence was later hiked to nine years at the Court of Appeal where the Solicitor General concluded Pickering had “robbed multiple victims of their childhood”.

Media coverage of the 2020 court proceedings led to another man coming forward and telling police that he was molested by Pickering while aged under 12.

Pickering, previously of Claife Avenue, Windermere, went on trial at Carlisle Crown Court earlier this year. He denied two charges of indecent assault and one attempted serious sexual assault. He was convicted of all three offences, unanimously, by a jury.

In an interview with police, the man recounted how he was abused by Pickering on “numerous occasions” around the turn of the 1980s. “You never really realised what he was doing at the time,” he told officers. “Every time you went there it would kind of happen again, and again.”

Asked how the abuse made him feel, the man replied: “Dirty.”

The court heard a modern day domestic incident was the trigger for the man to collapse and start sobbing his heart out. “Blame Tony Pickering for this because he has been in my head,” the man had told relatives.

In a victim impact statement he spoke of trying to “bury” memories of the abuse before publicity from the 2020 court proceedings prompted him to speak out.

Prosecutor Tim Evans told a hearing on Friday that the man was left feeling angry, with trust issues and had described of a lack of sleep and appetite. “I feel so much anger and resentment to Anthony Pickering,” the man had stated. “This man took advantage of me and stole my innocence. I will never get that back.”

Defence lawyer Vincent Ward told the court as he mitigated: “Mr Pickering continues to deny the offending.”

Judge Nicholas Barker was due to pass a sentence on Pickering who, he observed, had displayed “wholesale predatory behaviour”.

But the judge adjourned the hearing, saying that he needed more time to reflect on certain aspects of the case. These included the links between Pickering’s latest conviction, and offending for which he was sentenced in both 2018 and 2020.

In 2012 Pickering was handed a six-year jail term for sexually assaulting a young girl in West Yorkshire. Prior to that he was convicted at a court martial in Germany of indecently assaulting two boys during the 1990s while serving with the Army, and handed a 42-month sentence.

Sentencing is now due to take place on 28th June, and Pickering remains in custody. Judge Barker had observed: “There is no doubt that Anthony Pickering is, by definition of his previous offences, a prolific, predatory paedophile.”