November 2007

Jail for a man who raped a 12-year-old girl

An odd-job man has been jailed for nine years for the rape of a 12-year-old girl.

Luton Crown Court heard Gareth Williams, 53, started grooming the girl when she was just nine and she recalls being abused by him daily.

Prosecuting, Claudette Elliot said it began with him touching and kissing her against her wishes.

Then on September 8 when she was at his house, he told her ‘I’m going to have you’ and raped her.

She ran home and told her mother what he had done and he was arrested.

Williams of Grosvenor Street, Bedford pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual offences committed against the girl, including rape.

Miss Elliot read out a victim impact statement from the girl’s mother in which she described the devastating effect the crime has had on her daughter.

She said: “My daughter has changed from a happy and carefree child to a withdrawn and distant 12-year-old.

“She can’t sleep at night and as a result is so tired during the day she has had to have days off school.

“My partner and her siblings all feel guilty and feel we should have known where she was and what was happening to her. This has had a devastating effect on our family.”

Lauren Soertsz, defending said Williams was sorry for what he had done and knows it is unforgivable.

She urged Judge Michael Kay to take into account his remorse and his guilty plea when sentencing.

Judge Kay told Williams: “This was a truly appalling offence against a young girl.

“You targeted that girl because she was unlikely to resist. You spent time grooming her and she was not a willing partner and told you to stop.

“The victim impact statement has shown she is having nightmares and psychological problems. She has also had to have intrusive tests for STDs which must have been distressing.”

He sentenced him to nine years in jail. He also disqualified him from working with children and put him on the sex offenders’ register for life.