October 2008

Paedophile jailed for raping North Bersted girl (5)

A paedophile who raped and sexually assaulted a five-year-old girl will probably die in jail, a court heard.

George Hammond, 63, repeatedly attacked his young victim, who lives in North Bersted, over a five-month period at his home in Worthing.

During a four-day trial at the beginning of September, Hammond accused his victim of lying and repeatedly denied the claims.

But a jury found him guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of sexual assualt between April 27, and August 11 of last year.

Hammond was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment at Chichester Crown Court on Tuesday, where Pierce Power, mitigating, said the defendant had since written to the court and accepted his guilt.

He said that Hammond had ‘wanted to plead guilty, but never had the courage to face up to that’.

He said Hammond, who suffers serious heart and lung problems, knew he faced a substantial prison term

“Given his life expectancy, he may die in prison. What he has done may forfeit his life,” he said. “Many will feel that is fully justified.”He added that the attacks came after Hammond began feeling lonely after the death of his wife in January, 2007.

Judge Charles Byers said courts had a duty to reflect society’s horror at such horrible abuse. He said: “She was so innocent and you thought she would not tell. You relied throughout your trial on her tender years in the hope that no-one would believe her.”

The mother of Hammond’s victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, paid tribute to her daughter’s strength in dealing with the horrific abuse she suffered and the ordeal of the trial.

She said: “How does anyone get through something like that? It’s so difficult.

“Being five years old and having to go through the video-link and everything was so traumatic.

“She is such a happy-go-lucky little girl and she is quite strong in herself.

“When she spoke up in court they said she was absolutely fantastic.

“She knew exactly what had happened to her and was not afraid to open up.

“It’s nice it’s all done with and justice has been done for her sake.”

The mother condemned Hammond for putting her daughter through a trial and described his letter of confession, written after he had been convicted, as ‘sick’.

She said her daughter had been told about the sentence and understood what it meant.

She said: “She has turned round to me before and said ‘I hope he goes to prison for a long time, mummy. I don’t want him doing this to other children.”