A FORMER football club press officer has been jailed for 23 years for a string of sexual offences against two young children.

David Daniel Hayes, who at one time lived in Buckley, was convicted last month of sexual offences, including rape, against a boy and a girl who were both aged under 10 at the time.

Judge Rhys Rowlands had adjourned sentencing at Mold Crown Court to allow time for the mother of the victims could read a victim impact statement.

Hayes was taken into custody on a European arrest warrant in Spain where he was working as a tutor after travelling to Amsterdam and Brazil with the judge noting he had been at large between December 2015 and July last year.

"It felt like we were on edge all the time and he may try and find us," said the mother addressing the court.

"Not a day goes by when we are not affected by what happened.

"He has robbed my children of their childhood.

"No child should ever have to explain these things."

She added her daughter had been suicidal, received counselling and the family were "filled with anxiety and uneasiness the whole time he was on the run".

"Once he was caught we felt safe for the first time in a very long time," she added.

Judge Rowlands had called the stress caused to the victims by Hayes going on the run as an aggravating feature and added Hayes’ sexual abuse of the girl was such that it had caused her “serious psychological harm” which he would also take into account when passing sentence.

Hayes’ trial heard how Hayes, who had connections to Bangor City FC, was linked to his crimes by forensic evidence although Hayes told police there would be no forensic evidence to link him to any of the allegations.

A DNA sample for semen found on the girl’s underwear matched his DNA profile.

The boy told police Hayes “used to hit him” and when he had sexually abused him he told him “not to tell anyone”.

Hayes, 40, formerly of Bridge Street, Llanrwst, entered not guilty pleas to 12 child sex offences but was convicted on all counts.

They included sexual assault, rape and inciting a child under 13 to engage in a sexual act with all the offences alleged to have been committed between 2012 and 2015.

Referring to the trial, the victim's mother said: "It was more harrowing than I'd ever imagined and I was scared the jury would not believe me.

"No length of sentence will ever be long enough for that evil monster."

Sentencing Hayes, who sat in the dock repeatedly shaking his head, Judge Rowlands said: "I see no evidence of remorse or contrition on your part. In fact it is quite the opposite.

"Your calculated, cowardly behaviour has added greatly to the distress of the victims."

He added Hayes had led "a double life" and had "a distorted view of life" meaning he continued to "deny any responsibility".

"These were innocent children who should not have a care in the world."

Judge Rowlands imposed an extended sentence on Hayes of 23 years plus two years on licence.

Hayes was told he will serve at least two-thirds of the custodial element of the sentence.

He will also have to register as a sex offender for life and will be barred for life from working with children.

A family spokesman said after the sentencing hearing: “We are relieved that that this nightmare is finally over and we can start to try to rebuild our lives.

"We would like to thank all the police forces involved in the case from the very beginning to the end, especially DS Katie Ellis who has been amazing throughout.

"We would also like to thank the Crown Prosecution Service for all their hard work in bringing our family the justice we have been waiting so long for.”

Detective Sergeant Katie Ellis, of the North Wales Police Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit, said: “Hayes committed abhorrent abuse against these children.

“He then mistakenly believed he could evade justice by fleeing to Spain.

"However North Wales Police in collaboration with the National Crime Agency, Crimestoppers and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), actively pursued him ensuring that he faced trial.” 

DS Ellis added: “I commend the children in this case who showed great courage in speaking out against Hayes.

"They displayed significant strength of character throughout the police investigation along with their family.

"The significant sentence reflects the gravity of the offences committed and should serve as a warning that serious offences will result in lengthy prison sentences.

“It is important to reassure victims that North Wales Police will provide the support throughout every stage of the investigation and through any subsequent court proceedings.

"North Wales Police take matters of this nature very seriously and so it is reassuring to see this reflected in the sentence passed out.”

Iwan Jenkins of the CPS said: “Hayes forced himself upon two children, repeatedly abusing them for his own pleasure.

“The CPS presented a strong case to the jury resulting in these convictions, which is a testament to the courage the children have shown.

“While the convictions cannot change what happened we hope they will help the children in moving on with their lives.”

An NSPCC Cymru/Wales spokesperson said: “Hayes tried to evade justice for the appalling crimes he committed against children and the long jail term imposed reflects the danger he poses.

“He forced his young victims to relive in court the abuse they suffered at his hands and they must be commended for their bravery at speaking out and helping to put Hayes behind bars where he cannot hurt others.

“While justice has finally caught up with Hayes, it is important that the survivors of his abuse receive the support they need to help rebuild their lives.”