June 2005

Drunk raped teenage girl

BURNLEY man has been jailed for ten years after being convicted of raping a teenage girl.

A jury found Albert Just, of Springfield Road, guilty of two counts of rape and five other sexually-related offences involving a child.

The court heard his young victim had contemplated suicide and was now trying to rebuild her shattered life.

Preston Crown Court judge Peter Openshaw QC said Just appeared to still deny he had done anything wrong.

He said: “I consider these offences have had a truly shattering effect upon her.

“What the future will hold no one can say but seldom have I seen in sharper focus the effects of sexual abuse.”

He added that Just, 41, showed “not the slightest reflection or remorse — he still denies it.”

The abuse began two years ago and resulted in the teenager displaying behavioural problems at school, the court heard

Judge Openshaw said it was obvious to anyone who knew her that she had been disturbed by the attacks.

Last September she threatened to commit suicide but then spoke to a counsellor at school and explained the abuse, the court was told.

Police were alerted and the victim said she had been sexually abused for two years.

The judge said in the last couple of months the victim had “started to calm herself.”

Just denied all the charges during a two-day trial.

But the former driver, who originally comes from Glasgow, was found guilty by a jury which took just 90 minutes to reach a verdict.

Judge Openshaw said Just deserved a strong sentence and ordered him to serve ten years for two rapes and five years and four years, to run concurrently, for indecent assaults. Just will also have to sign the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life and will never be allowed to work with children.

Robert Elias, defending, said Just still denied the offences and the probation service report was “wholly unfavourable” to him.

He added: “All I can do is accept the verdict and ask the sentence does not crush this man.

“It will completely change his life and be a fearful punishment. Nothing that is done to him will make life any better for the tragic victim of this.

“One’s heart goes out to her.”

The court was told that Just abused alcohol and committed the offences while drunk.

He had previous convictions for assault and being drunk and disorderly, but not sexual offences.

After the case, Det Con Jane Lawrenson said: “The sentence reflects the severity of the offences he was charged with.”