August 2011

Pensioner is jailed for child rapes of 30 years ago

A PENSIONER who repeatedly raped one girl and sexually assaulted another has been jailed for 11 years.

Frail Ronald Atkinson, aged 72, was locked up for offences more than 30 years apart against girls under the age of 16

Plymouth Crown Court heard that he gave the first victim money to buy her silence.

Atkinson, of South Down Road, North Prospect, admitted one count of rape of a girl aged under 16 in 1979 and 1980.

He admitted three offences of gross indecency with the same child in 1977 and 1978.

Atkinson also admitted three further charges of indecently touching another child between December last year and this April.

Judge Paul Dunkels told him: “You have pleaded guilty to a series of serious sexual offences against young girls.

“I make it clear that the charge of rape you have admitted represents repeated rapes by you.”

Alistair Verheijen, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Atkinson had started abusing his first victim from the age of eight.

He added the abuse culminated in repeated rapes when she was older.

Mr Verheijen said: “Before or after the rape, he would give her money.”

He added that the original offences were uncovered by police after the second victim’s family reported his latest offences in April.

Ali Rafati, for Atkinson, said he admitted the rape of the previous victim when no complaint had been made.

He said he had admitted the offences immediately, saving the pair from the ordeal of giving evidence in court.

Mr Rafati said Atkinson had suffered a stroke and had lost movement on one side of his body.

He added that he had been disowned by his family and faced a ‘lonely time’ in custody.

Judge Dunkels said Atkinson had groomed his first victim, increasing the level of sexual contact as she grew older.

He added: “You progressed to repeatedly raping her. You gave her money to buy her co-operation and silence.”

Atkinson will remain on the Sex Offender Register for life and has been banned from ever working with children.