October 2007

Child rapist sent to jail for life

A sex offender who “gloried” in abusing a schoolgirl has been jailed for life.

Mark Hanson, 49, pictured, winced as the judge at Winchester Crown Court jailed him.

Hanson, unemployed, of Holly Oak Road, Coxford, Southampton, was convicted of three rapes, 19 counts of making indecent photos and another count of possessing 127 indecent images including many videos.

Sentencing, the judge, Mr Justice Irwin, said: “This is a terrible case of sexual abuse, a sustained course of rape of a young girl. You have not even admitted these offences. She had to go through the ordeal of giving evidence while you denied and continue to deny what you did.

“It’s clear this offending has had a great impact on her. You represent a continuing danger to young girls.

“These offences were planned and with a desire to fulfil sexual gratification. You have a manipulative and predatory lifestyle and represent a high risk of serious harm to the public. You gloried in the offending.”

The judge ordered that he must serve nine years and three months before he was eligible to apply for release.

The trial in July at Winchester cleared him of one count of gross indecency.

The court heard that Hanson had been investigated for the offences, that took place between 2000 and 2002, in 2003 but no prosecution was brought.

However in 2005 police raided his home and found incriminating evidence on his computer.

Hanson wrote about his offences and downloaded photographs of himself abusing the girl, now aged 17, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The jury heard that Hanson’s previous convictions included indecent assaults on a seven-year-old girl in 1972, a five-year-old boy in New Milton in 1973 and a 12-year-old girl in 1978.

Andrew Houston, prosecuting, said the victim, in an impact statement, had said: “She had difficulty with relationships. She felt lonely and dirty and kept herself to herself and didn’t make friends but it was something that has improved with the passing of time.”

Simon Edwards, mitigating, said there was little he could say on Hanson’s behalf as he continues to deny the offences.

The judge also granted a restraining order preventing Hanson from ever contacting the victim.

Hanson was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for life and banned from ever working with children.

Det Con Jed Keemar, of the Netley based child abuse investigation unit, said he was pleased with the sentence.