July 2010

Bridport: Beast who raped girl, 5, jailed for eight years

A PAEDOPHILE has been jailed for eight years for the rape of a young girl.

Jeffery David West, 42, formerly of Priory Lane, Bridport, admitted two charges of rape and three charges of sexually assaulting the same victim, around the time of her fifth birthday.

Police have praised the young victim for her courage in coming forward.

They welcomed the sentence handed down to West and commended the girl for speaking out about the offences.

At his sentencing hearing at Dorchester Crown Court, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark told the defendant the offences, which took place between January and May of 2008, were ‘truly dreadful’.

Angela England said the victim, who is now seven years old, made the first allegation of sexual assault earlier this year when she reported it to social services.

West, formerly of Priory Lane, Bridport, admitted the offence during a police interview, claiming it was a ‘moment of madness’.

However, the girl then made further admissions to her mother, claiming West had raped her twice and had sexually assaulted her on two occasions.

When he was interviewed again West admitted the further allegations, saying he believed they took place shortly after the girl’s fifth birthday and involved three separate incidents.

Miss England said: “He had not been true and frank in his first interview, it was clearly more than a moment of madness.”

Tim Shorter, mitigating, told the court that in police interview West had revealed he had experienced suicidal thoughts as a way of making the allegations ‘go away’.

Judge Harvey Clark imposed a total sentence of eight years in prison for the five offences and told West he would serve at least half of that before being released on licence.

He also imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order that prohibits West from living in the same house as a child under 18 or from having any unsupervised contact with a child under 18.

Judge Harvey Clark told the defendant: “It is difficult to put into words the events of which you are guilty. You behaved shamefully.”

The judge added: “This happened, I am told, on three occasions over a significant period of some months.

“That does not suggest to me that it was a moment of madness.

“As everybody recognises, it was truly dreadful.”

Police later praised the bravery of the youngster for having the courage to speak up about the terrible abuse she suffered.

The officer in the case Detective Constable Michelle Underwood has welcomed the sentence handed down to West and commended the girl for speaking out about the offences.

She said: “The prison sentence handed down by the court emphasises the seriousness and depravity of the offences and their considerable effect on the very young victim.

“My message to victims of such crimes is ‘please don’t suffer in silence’. Come forward because you will be believed.”