Victims of Hitchin sex offender Ian Mann thank community for ‘incredible support’ during difficult year

Ian Mann was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court last month. Picture: Danny Loo

Ian Mann was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court last month. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

The family of the victims of Hitchin sex offender Ian Mann have spoken out to thank the community for their “incredible support” during a devastating year.

On June 26, Ian Mann, a former landlord from Hitchin, was convicted at St Albans Crown Court on two accounts of sexual assault by touching. After pleading guilty, Mr Mann was handed a 16-month suspended prison sentence and has been placed on the sexual offenders register for 10 years.

51-year-old Ian Mann is the former landlord of the Canary Club – the community hub for Hitchin Town Football Club which also has a pub license. Mr Mann left the Canary Club in July 2018 after four years.

The court heard that in 2019 Mr Mann assaulted two female victims at a Hitchin pub, and had attempted to pass off the behaviour as drunken lapses.

Speaking anonymously to the Comet, the father of the victims wishes to thank the Hitchin community for the support his family has been given in this difficult time.

“Our community has been there for us,” he said. “When the girls took this case forward, we were taken seriously, believed and protected from Ian and his defenders.”

The father also wishes to praise his “remarkable” daughters for their strength and determination during the ordeal, and stressed the seriousness of all forms of sexual abuse – not just rape.

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“My daughters – and my wider family – have shown so much strength and bravery. I among many others have incredible admiration for them both. I’m so sorry they have had to endure this.”

In a message from one of the daughters – delivered on her behalf by her father – she told the Comet: “We need people to know that you don’t have to raped for it to be abuse and no one should have to suffer that in silence. Ian touched us, and victims of abusers like Ian are not alone. We want what he did to us to be known in our community – he should never be able to escape his actions.”

While the girls’ father believes the suspended sentence was “lenient,” he still believes “justice has been done” and has chosen not to appeal the ruling.

“My daughters have closure. I don’t want to stretch this out further for them. Justice has been done,” he said.