August 2007

Rapist jailed after abusing girl, seven

VILE child rapist Robert King grins for the camera – but showed no remorse for his seven-year-old victim.

The body-building brute was locked up for 12 years after a sickening series of sexual attacks on the girl.

His Newcastle Crown Court conviction came as a relief to the child’s mother, but she called for a longer sentence.

She said: “He should rot in hell. It should have been 70 years for what he did.

“My daughter doesn’t sleep soundly at night. Even now she gets up at two or three o’clock in the morning and needs to talk to me.

“This depraved man has taken away her innocence and no child should have to go through what she suffered.”

The single mum, 31, of Northumberland, watched King convicted after a week-long trial last month where he had refused to accept his guilt.

King, 56, of Benridge Park, Newsham, Blyth, showed no remorse when he was sentenced last week.

The market trader, who is also a grandfather, abused the terrified youngster over 18 months.

At first she was too scared to tell anyone about her torment, but later broke down and told a playmate.

The victim’s mother was alerted and she made a call to Northumbria Police in September last year.

King, originally from Chester-le-Street, County Durham, was found guilty of two counts of rape, two charges of sexual assault and three of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

He was jailed for 12 years for the rapes, seven years for the sexual assaults and four years for the causing a child to engage in sexual activity, all to run concurrently.

He was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

Judge Guy Whitburn told him: “This was a grave abuse of trust.

“It’s clear from the victim impact statement what you did has caused severe traumatic distress to the family.

“The trial has exacerbated what the family has suffered. This is a case which calls for a substantial sentence.”

The victim’s mother said she is slowly trying to bring a sense of normality into her child’s life.

She said: “My daughter has had to live with her trauma and wait for the trial to be over before she could get any professional counselling.

“As the justice system stands, he had to have a fair trial and people would’ve presumed him to be guilty if my daughter was given help before his case was heard.

“It sickened me to hear what was said by his defence in court. King violated a young innocent girl, yet his defence tried to make out she allowed him to do these despicable acts aged just seven at the time it started.

“I have had to be strong for her, and I’m determined she should regain some sort of childhood. Sadly, after what has happened she is too grown up.”

The mum thanked Northumbria Police’s Det Con Leigh Bowman for the way she investigated the abuse and the officer’s support.

“The police and the barrister were very professional and gave me great strength to get through this.

“I would also like to thank my sister, and the court witness support people for their help.”

Defending King, Tom Finch said: “He is a man of good character. These are serious matters but there was no coercion or threats.”

After the case Det Con Bowman said: “Throughout this case Robert King has shown no remorse, and continually protested his innocence.

“It is testament to the remarkable strength of character of this young girl that King finds himself in custody.

“The police are committed to protecting children and prosecuting this type of abhorrent offender.”

The victim’s mother said her only comfort was that because King had been on bail up until his conviction, he would have to serve the majority of his sentence