December 2010

‘Morally repugnant’ child abuser jailed for four and a half years

A man who sexually assaulted a child has been jailed for four and a half years.

Roger Hawkins, of South Street, Totnes, had previously admitted attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child dating back more than 30 years.

The 63-year-old was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court on Tuesday.

Judge Barry Cotter told him that his actions were “morally repugnant”.

Judge Cotter said: “You cannot give a childhood back, you cannot repair a violation such as this and you cannot give back stolen innocence.”

The court heard that Hawkins had worked in the church and had led a law abiding life before and since the offending.

Tony Green, Assistant Pastor at Totnes United Free Church, spoke on behalf of Hawkins, who he has known for 23 years.

He told the court that Hawkins had told him of the offences.

He said: “Over the 23 years when we had met, there have been many occasions when we have talked about Roger’s actions 30 years ago.

“I have seen the distress on his mind at what he did. I’m convinced that Roger’s remorse is genuine.”

The court heard how Hawkins had developed an “obsessive interest” in a girl who was ten years old when the offending began.

He subjected her to an attempted rape when she was a teenager. He told police he had been motivated by sexual gratification.

Prosecutor Jonathan Barnes told the court: “She told him that if he ever came near her again she would disclose what he had been doing to her.”

The victim finally told police what had happened last year.

Mr Barnes said: “She told them her whole life has been survival rather than living.”

Mitigating, Fiona Elder said that Hawkins knew what he had done was wrong.

She said: “He has lived with the facts since and I do not minimise the distress to the victim, he has caused her considerable pain and torment.

“This isn’t a man who just accepted that it happened but he has, since that time, tried to address the issues that he may have.”

Hawkins was sentenced to four and half years for the attempted rape and two years each for the other offences.

All are to be served concurrently.

He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register and banned from working with children.