March 2012 update – A “sadistic” child rapist who escaped justice for more than 30 years will “die in jail” after his lenient sentence was increased by top judges. After he challenged the sentence yesterday, three Appeal Court judges upped Sheppard’s jail term to 16 years, which lawyers say means he will probably not survive to taste freedom.

December 2011

Serial child sex-attacker sent to prison

A farm labourer who abused girls over four decades has been jailed for 12 years.

Serial paedophile Derrick Sheppard befriended the families of his victims so he could gain contact with their daughters and then subjected them to horrendous abuse.

His victims have been left so traumatised that even after 20 or 30 years they are haunted by memories of his bad breath, body odour and the feel of his unshaven chin as he forced them to kiss him.

Sheppard, 73, adapted with the times and went from bribing his victims with Dolly Mixtures to buying them credit for their mobile phones.

His interest in young girls dates back to the 1960s when he used to hang around outside Sunday School hoping to meet them.

A judge branded him a sadist after hearing how he humiliated his victims and his assaults caused them excruciating pain.

One of the girls, now in her 40s, sobbed uncontrollably as a judge read sections of her victim impact statement which revealed how the abuse had caused a lifetime of mental problems and ruined her marriage.

Two other witnesses sat at the back of Exeter Crown Court and watched Sheppard’s reaction as Judge John Neligan told him his crimes were depraved.

Sheppard, of Glebe Close, Upton Pyne, near Exeter, denied but was convicted of three rapes, two attempted rapes and 12 offences of indecent assault or indecency with a child.

The offences took place between 1970 and 2006 at addresses across Devon. The victims were aged between six and 18.

He was jailed for 12 years by Judge Neligan, who told him: “These offences were committed over a period of more than 30 years and some of the victims are now in their 40s.

“You gave one girl sweets and told her she liked what you were doing to her. As a result of what you did she has had flashbacks to the trauma of her abuse. The next victim described your assaults as causing so much pain she tried to scream but you put your hand over her mouth and became angry and aggressive when she tried to resist you.”

The judge added: “I detect no signs of remorse from you whatsoever, but I take into account your age and infirmity. The sentences are intended to reflect the gravity of the facts.”

Sheppard, who is now retired and confined to a wheelchair, said he had no idea why four women who did not know each other should invent such similar stories.