A CROSS-dressing paedophile who sexually abused a six-year-old girl while wearing a wedding dress has been jailed for a total of 15 years.

Stephen Owen, aged 62, was yesterday found guilty of four counts of indecent assault, three charges of indecency with a child, and two counts of attempted rape committed against two girls in Bolton in the 1980s and 1990s. The court heard he wore his wife’s dresses and shoes before touching one of the girls and forcing her to perform sex acts.

He later gave her money for sweets and told her that it was “their little secret,” the court heard.

Owen gave the second girl money after forcing her to perform sex acts, the jury of six men and six women heard.

One of the girls is now in her mid 30s and the other in her late 20s and cannot be named for legal reasons.

The abuse took place when they were aged nine to 15 and six to 11. The case came to light after one of the victims saw an article in The Bolton News about Owen, who was jailed for nine years in 2008 after being found guilty of 13 sexual offences against a third young girl.

Owen was sentenced to a further nine years for the latest offences and given an additional six years to run consecutively to his existing sentence, totalling 15 years.

Detective Constable Mike Mather, of Bolton CID’s Public Protection and Investigation Unit, said: “Owen was quite clearly a danger to the public and today’s sentence reflects that.

“His crimes were heinous and I just hope today’s result will give some comfort to his victims who were brave enough to come forward and report him.”

“I also hope that this conviction will act as a ray of hope to other victims of sexual abuse and encourage them to come forward to police.”