January 2008


A 58-YEAR-OLD married man who repeatedly raped a teenage boy has been jailed for 14 years.

Carlisle Crown Court heard yesterday how Robert Vincent, of Oulton, near Wigton, groomed the 14-year-old for sex.

He abused the youngster over a four-year period until he was 17, leaving him depressed and feeling “as though a part of his life had been taken away”.

Vincent, a former children’s football referee in Cumbria, had a history of grooming young boys as young as 13 for sex. He targeted a sea cadet when he was a training officer in 1969 and later a paperboy when he lived in London.

A married man for 28 years, he showed no emotion when Judge Peter Hughes gave him an indefinite sentence to protect the public. He was then sentenced to 14 years for three of the convictions, and told that he must serve seven years before being considered for release.

During his trial in December, Vincent claimed the boy had raped him and he was the victim.

Judge Hughes said: “You spotted an opportunity to use him for your own sexual gratification. I have no doubt at all that you set about gaining his trust and grooming him.”

The teenager was sometimes raped in a house, and sometimes in a field.

Safeguards to protect young footballers were stepped up after it emerged that Vincent was allowed to referee youth matches across Cumbria.