October 2009

Rapist’s death threat to girl, 12

A paedophile who repeatedly raped a school girl secured her silence by threatening to have her killed if she told anyone of the abuse, a court heard.

Stephen Hodges, aged 43, was jailed for 14-and-a- half years at Northampton Crown Court after he admitted committing a series of rapes on the 12-year-old girl.

She kept silent about his sexual assaults due to his controlling and threatening behaviour, telling her he would kill her if she reported it, or find someone else to do it.

Rebecca Crane, prosecuting, said the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was first sexually assaulted in 2004, but did not report it until after she was raped in 2006.

She said: “Following this she was very upset and did not tell anyone as she was scared by aggressive and controlling behaviour. He said she would die if she told anyone.”

The court heard the abuse finally came to light when a relative of the victim saw a threatening text message on her mobile phone from Hodges and told a neighbour who informed the police.

Hodges, formerly of Pemberton Street, Rushden, initially denied any wrongdoing, but pleaded guilty to sexual assault and three rapes. He was jailed and will be on the sex offenders’ register for life.

Passing sentence, Judge Charles Wide, QC, said: “These are offences of the gravest kind.

“You sexually abused her when she was only 12 and that was an isolated incident but you then, two years later, raped her again, as a course of conduct over the next 18 months.

“The effect upon her has been understandably devastating.

“There are a number of aggravating features. There is obviously the duration of the abuse and the gross breach of trust. You also used a degree of aggression to get your way with your controlling behaviour to get her to do what you wanted, although she was unwilling and did not consent.

“There were also very serious threats made to secure her silence, telling her if anyone found out she would die and if you could not kill her, you would find someone who could,and she believed you.

“This was a very late guilty plea – the trial was due to take place in only six days time.”