May 2004


A VIOLENT pervert who repeatedly raped a terrified Carlisle schoolgirl was yesterday jailed for ten years.

Harry Kerr, 70, began abusing the girl when she was just nine years old, buying her silence with threats that he would beat her up if she told what had happened.

He continued raping her three or four times a month for several years.

Carlisle Crown Court was told Kerr, in his 30s when he started abusing the girl, could die in prison.

The defendant, from Raffles, had earlier admitted three specimen counts of rape.

Prosecutor Robert Jones said the victim suffered regular abuse for six years at the hands of Kerr, whose character was “bullying” and “dominating”.

Mr Jones said: “After the first rape, he told her, in a threatening way, that she should not tell anybody and that if she did he would be put in jail.

“But he would beat her up first. These threats secured her silence.”

When the girl was 13, she began to say no to Kerr, but he responded by beating her up and forcing her to have sex with him. The girl was left with feelings of low self-esteem, and unworthiness. At one point, she was so desperate she considered killing Kerr.

Chris Stables, for Kerr, who has no previous convictions, said the defendant had spared his victim the ordeal of giving evidence by entering his guilty plea. His plea was a tangible expression of remorse, said the barrister.

Mr Stables said Kerr’s offence meant he was locked up on his own in prison, often for three or four days at a time.

He added: “There is a distinct possibility he will see his days out in custody.”

Passing sentence, Judge Paul Batty QC accepted Kerr felt remorse for his crimes but the abuse had a “catastrophic” effect on the victim.

“You robbed her of her childhood, and treated her as an object of your sexual gratification,” he said.

“I’ve read the victim impact statement from her, in which she outlines her childhood, which she says was terrible, and how since her childhood and into adult life, she suffered from depression.”

Given the lengthy period of abuse, and the associated violence, ten years was the least sentence consistent with his public duty.

Kerr must remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.