January 2009

Exeter rapist jailed for 20 years

DETECTIVES say the past has finally come back to haunt a city man who has been jailed for 20 years for sexual crimes he committed decades ago.

Bruno Vece, 56, of Loram Way, Alphington, had been found guilty of sexually abusing an underage girl in incidents which happened in the city in the late 1970s and 1980s.

He was also put on the Sex Offenders Register for life and given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order until further notice, at Exeter Crown Court for the 12 indecent assaults and four rapes.

Sgt Zoe Taylor, officer in the case, said justice had finally caught up with Vece.

The policewoman had dedicated herself to an investigation lasting a year and a half, since the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, came forward.

She told the Echo: “The victim has lived with the impact of the abuse for more than 20 years and it’s only in her adult life, with support from her husband and family, that she has now found the strength to face it.

“Bruno Vece has built a new life since he committed these crimes, and it has now been destroyed by his own actions from the past.”

The defendant, dressed in a dark suit and striped, pale shirt, was expressionless as he was led away to custody.

The jury had unanimously convicted him after the woman told them how Vece was an intimidating man who, when she was a child, warned he would kill her if she told anyone.

Stephen Mooney, in mitigation, yesterday said the defendant was devoted to his family who would suffer greatly by him being jailed.

He added that Vece had stayed out of trouble since the abuse but the past had come back to haunt him.

Judge Darlow told Vece: “These were obviously coercive crimes in the face of the active distress and resistance of the girl.

“This was not always the case, as she told the jury that sometimes she would be quiet to get it over with. You made serious threats against a young girl. The psychological impact is plain to see.”

Sgt Taylor praised the victim, and a crucial male witness, for giving evidence. “The trial succeeded through their strength and resolve,” she said. “The victim’s life has been deeply affected in many ways by abuse from a violent and sexually aggressive man. It’s been a traumatic and extremely emotional trial which in itself has been a distressing experience for her, reliving the past after she had sought for so many years to put it behind her.

“It’s through her emotional courage that she has found the strength to ensure justice was done.”