A convicted paedophile has been jailed for life after a judge heard how he targeted a second young girl ten years after raping and sexually abusing another girl.
Philip Clarke’s offences against his second victim only came to light after he lodged an appeal against a 16-year sentence imposed by a judge at Birmingham Crown Court in March last year.
Clarke, 39, formerly of Lillington Road, Wood End, Coventry, pleaded guilty to charges of rape and sexual assault.
Jailing him for life at the crown court in Leamington, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano ordered that he should serve a minimum of 11 years before the Parole Board can even consider releasing him.
He will then only be freed when it is considered he is no longer a danger, after which he will be on licence for the rest of his life.
Judge de Bertodano told Clarke, who already has to register as a sex offender for life: “I am in no doubt you are a continuing danger to the public.
“I have no doubt these offences are serious enough to merit a life sentence. “These are the most serious type of sexual offences it is possible to commit; and it would be quite wrong of me not to denounce that type of offending behaviour.
“This is something which lives with people throughout their lives.
“These two girls have been incredibly brave in coming forward and talking to the police about what happened. I hope they can take some comfort from that and also from your admissions of guilt.”
Prosecutor Andrew Molloy had said that following a trial in February last year Clarke was convicted of raping a ten-year-old girl in the early 2000s and again when she was about 13.
Those offences had come to light in 2012 when she went to the police because the ongoing impact of her ordeal was affecting her relationship with her boyfriend.
Other girls Clarke had had contact with were also spoken to by the police, but no further offences were disclosed at that time.
It was only after Clarke lodged an appeal to the Court of Appeal against the length of the 16-year sentence he had been given in March last year that his second victim decided to go to the police.
She revealed that shortly before Clarke had been arrested for raping his first victim, he had targeted her and raped her.
After losing the appeal against his sentence, Clarke told a prison officer that he wanted to make some admissions, and an interview with the police was arranged.
But despite having requested the interview, he then made no comment about his more recent offences.
It was only after he learned that the girl had made a video-recorded statement to the police that he admitted what he had done, added Mr Molloy.
A COVENTRY man has been jailed for 16 years for repeatedly raping a schoolgirl 10 years ago, including one attack in the youngster’s tent whilst on a fishing trip.
Phillip Clarke raped the girl – who was just 10-years-old – three times within the space of a few weeks in 2002, twice at his former home in Lillington Road, Wood End, and once whilst on a camping break.
Clarke – a former cemetery gardener – admitted sexual assault but denied rape.
However, a jury at Coventry Crown Court last month unanimously found him guilty on four counts of rape and at Birmingham Crown Court today (March 22) he was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Clarke will also be on the Sex Offender’s Register for life, never be allowed to work with children, and cannot have unsupervised contact with children for the rest of his life.
The victim, now a 20-year-old university student, was praised for the evidence she gave in court – evidence delivered from behind a screen that protected her from the public gallery gaze but allowed her to address the jury face-to-face.
And after the hearing she encouraged anyone who’s suffered at the hands of a sexual predator to report abuse to police and support services…no matter how long ago the offences occurred.
She said: “The abuse I suffered has been hanging over me for many years, affecting my relationships and making it difficult to move on. I was also worried that all the time I stayed silent there was a danger he could be abusing other children.
“Over time I confided in friends, my boyfriend and then finally my mother and the police…as it happened a decade ago I wasn’t sure if I’d left it too late but this has proved it’s never too late for victims to report rape or sexual assault.
“I’m confident I can now make a fresh start, with this off my mind, and start re-building my life.”
The court heard how Clarke twice raped the 10-year-old at his home address in 2002 and, after both attacks, gave the youngster money to “spend on sweets”.
Sandwiched between the two incidents he abused her on a fishing trip in the Coventry area and, following another rape in 2005, she told the 37-year-old to stop. It was the last time he abused her.
In interview Clarke claimed to have a “Jekyll and Hyde” character and blamed the abuse on a previous mental breakdown.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Clive Leftwich, said: “Clarke told us he’d suspected for many years that he would be arrested for these matters. He was right – but that was down to the courage of his victim who was determined her attacker would face justice and that no other children would potentially suffer.
“Our Public Protection officers are specially trained to deal sensitively with sexual abuse victims, offer them support and guide them through the court process.
“Despite the victim coming to us 10 years after the offences were committed, our thorough investigations enabled us to present a compelling case to the jury…and it’s resulted in a unanimous guilty verdict for rapes that have caused her great distress since childhood.”