June 2019: Recalled to prison for breaching terms of order

February 2019: Released

April 2013

Courage of sex abuse victim praised by police

prout

POLICE have praised the courage of the victim of a sexual predator who has been jailed for 12 years.

Richard Prout was convicted of raping a 15-year-old runaway who took refuge at his home.

Exeter Crown Court heard he deceived the vulnerable schoolgirl into moving into his bedsit by telling her that social workers had approved it, but then carried out a string of violent attacks.

He subjected her to a reign of terror which resulted in her becoming under his power, and becoming pregnant and having his child when she was just 16.

He was already going out with another girl who had just turned 16 and when a probation officer asked him about his predeliction for young girls he replied: “Age is just a number”.

Prout, 50, of Legion Way, Exeter, denied three rapes and two offences of sexual activity with a child but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.

He was jailed for 12 years by Recorder Mr David Bartlett, who said there were a number of aggravating features including the huge difference in age and the use of force and intimidation.

He told Prout: “This was an extremely vulnerable 15-year-old who fell into your clutches. She had left home and was sleeping on the streets when you offered her accommodation under the pretence of being a father figure.

“I am satisfied you were grooming her as a sexual partner and did not wait long before you raped her violently. There was a degree of compulsion and force until you achieved a degree of submission.

“You are quite clearly capable of of causing serious harm to young children, particularly teenaged girls.

The victim was studying for GCSEs but left home after her relationship with her parents broke down and was living rough when he picked her up.

He was already going out with another girl who had just turned 16, and when a probation officer asked him about his predeliction for young girls he replied “age is just a number”.

Prout, 50, of Legion Way, Exeter, denied three rapes and two offences of sexual activity with a child but was found guilty at Exeter Crown Court.

He was jailed for 12 years by Recorder Mr David Bartlett.

Prout was arrested as part of Operation Hat.

DI Steve White said: “Operation Hat was a complex and demanding investigation focused upon historical sexual abuse of young girls in the Exeter area. I would like to recognise the courage of those who attended the court to provide evidence.”