October 2007

CHILD RAPIST JAILED FOR NINE YEARS

A RAPIST who repeatedly attacked a teenage girl has been jailed for nine years.

Preston Crown Court heard Ronald Clarke used his victim as a sex object, totally against her will. The crimes date back around 30 years and a judge said the degree of harm caused had been very high.

Clarke, 69, of Fife Street, Barrow, appeared for sentencing yesterday, having earlier admitted six charges of rape.

Judge Pamela Badley told him as she handed down the prison term: “Your understanding of the effect upon your victim is very limited.”

The court heard the sexual abuse began in a park.

He told his victim that if she told lies she could be put in a “bad girl’s home”.

Mr Nick Kennedy, prosecuting, said during the first rape, she was crying and very distressed.

Clarke told her that what she wanted and what she got were “two different things”.

Other rapes followed.

Mr Kennedy told the court: “The defendant used her as a sex object, totally regardless of her wishes.”

The victim’s life later deteriorated into a mess, the court heard.

Clarke was arrested on suspicion of rape in July last year. Before that, the woman’s partner had sought advice from the police about past sexual abuse by the defendant.

Clarke told police he had sex with the girl about four times. He had no previous convictions.

Mr Brian Williams, defending, said Clarke would turn 70 in three months’ time and said: “He is well aware that neither his age nor his infirmity is going to save him from prison.

“He accepts 30 or 35 years ago he did some terrible things and he now must pay the price. Terrible as these offences were, they were isolated. I have to accept that only a sentence of some length will follow.”

Clarke was told he will be on the sex offenders’ register for life and barred from working with children in future.

The judge told him: “You had no thought for her in your activities. You just took from her.

“The statement of the victim is a tragic testament to the effect of abuse upon a young girl.

“She was horribly affected by your abuse.

“Only a lengthy custodial sentence can meet the justice of this case. Your understanding of the effect upon your victim is very limited.”

Detective Sergeant Chris Bethell, of Barrow’s Public Protection Unit, said: “We were delighted with the sentence. This was a complicated case which centred around an allegation of prolonged serious sexual offending on a child.

“The victim’s strength of character throughout this difficult time has been greatly influential in securing the prosecution.

“Her courage to report the allegation and not waver thereafter has

effectively forced Clarke to change his plea to guilty at the last minute to avoid him having to face her evidence at trial.”