Former North West factory worker jailed for child rape and indecent assault

Convicted rapist Eric Marsden
Convicted rapist Eric Marsden

A former factory worker has been jailed for 15 years after being convicted of vile historic rape and sex offences.

As Eric Marsden was put behind bars for 14 years with an extended licence of 12 months, friends and relatives of the two victims shouted out, “See you scumbag” and “Have a nice life.”

Judge Elizabeth Nicholls told the 66-year-old that he is regarded as “a prisoner of particular concern” and consequently will have to serve at least two thirds of the custodial term and possibly all of it if the Parole Board still consider he is a danger.

Marsden, from Wigan, had been convicted of three rape offences and 10 of indecent assault after a trial.

Judge Nicholls said that his victims had been aged between seven and 13.

“I have absolutely no doubt that you understood what you were doing was inappropriate, wrong and should not have happened.

“I also have no doubt that these offences have had, and will continue to have, a profound affect on your victims.”

She said that they both have problems but neither tried to lay the blame at his door.

Marsden, who worked for 30 years on the night shift at the Heinz factory, denied all the allegations but was convicted of three offences of rape and five indecent assault on one girl and five indecent assaults on the other victim. A Liverpool Crown Court jury - of whom seven returned for the sentencing - heard that the rape victim had been aged between 10 and 12.

The offences came to light after the indecent assault victim went to the police in 2015 and complained about his behaviour.

David Potter, defending, said that Marsden is a “quiet, socially isolated man, not worldly wise” and until staying in Liverpool for the trial had never used a cash machine and had not known how to use a phone card in jail.

“He presents today as a thoroughly dishevelled man.

“He cannot fathom how he will make his way through a lengthy sentence.”

Mr Potter said that Marsden, who showed no emotion during the hearing, is diabetic and suffers from arthritis and short term memory problems now beginning to afflict him will be an extra burden for him in prison.