A CONVICTED Keswick paedophile has been told by a judge that the Parole Board will decide when he will eventually be released from prison.

Raymond Harrison received a combined 20-year jail term last week for repeatedly raping one schoolgirl and molesting another.

Harrison, a 69-year-old farmer, was said to have groomed both his victims, buying them “sweets and the odd cheeky cigarette” before committing historical crimes which occurred while both girls were aged under 13 and he was in his late twenties and early thirties.

Harrison denied the charges he faced, but was convicted of all by a jury following a trial.

He was sentenced by a judge last Monday and given a prison sentence totalling 20 years. But Harrison’s case was brought back to Carlisle Crown Court on Friday to address a number of legal technicalities and the way in which his punishment was constructed.

Harrison had received consecutive three-year prison sentences for each of the four rape charges on which he was convicted. But, on reflection, and in recognition of the seriousness of those crimes, Recorder Ciaran Rankin imposed concurrent 12-year jail terms for each.

As it stood at the end of the original sentencing hearing, Harrison was set to be released from custody on licence after serving half of the 20-year total.

However, it emerged that because the crimes were so serious, Harrison should be subject to a “special custodial sentence for offender of particular concern” (SOPC).

Under that legislation, an offender would no longer be automatically released halfway through their custodial sentence. However, the Parole Board — whose task it is to make prisoner risk assessments — can grant a discretionary release after this point.

Harrison was present at court over a video link from custody on Friday, and appeared emotional during the short hearing as submissions were made by prosecution and defence barristers.

He listened as Recorder Rankin announced that his custody departure date would be determined by the Parole Board. “You will be released when it is satisfied it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you be detained,” the judge told him.”

As part of the SOPC legislation, Recorder Rankin also imposed an extended 12-month licence period. This will apply after Harrison has been released from custody and is serving the remainder of his sentence in the community.

At Harrison’s crown court sentencing hearing, it was stated that an appeal against his conviction is “pending”.