October 2007

Man jailed for raping schoolgirl


A man who abducted and raped a nine-year-old girl two months after being released from prison has been jailed for life.

Robert Zipfel grabbed the girl as she played on her bike in her garden, took her to a cemetery in Bridlington and raped her, Hull Crown Court was told.

Zipfel, 30, of Bempton Crescent, Bridlington, was told he must serve a minimum of six years.

He admitted rape, sexual assault and abduction at an earlier hearing.

Zipfel was given two life terms for the rape and sexual assault and four years for the abduction charge, to run concurrently.

The offences took place in April this year.

The court heard he was a drug addict with 25 convictions including offences of burglary, assault and robbery.

The Honorary Recorder of Hull and East Yorkshire, Judge Michael Mettyear, said Zipfel was a “very dangerous man” and the public needed protecting.

He said: “Your conduct towards this little girl was horrific.

“You abducted her from her own garden. You threatened her in a terrifying way and you raped her. At the time she was just nine years of age and about 4ft tall.

“The sympathy of the court and all decent people goes out to her and her family.”

The judge said a report revealed Zipfel posed a significant risk to the public.

He stressed that once Zipfel had served his six year term it was up to others to decide if and when he could be released back into society.

The court was told he took the victim to a graveyard in Bridlington to carry out the sex attack, two months after being released from a 36-month prison sentence for burglary.

Zipfel had been seen walking up and down the street and then approached the youngster who was playing on her bike.

Prosecuting Sharon Beattie said: “He pulled her and the bicycle out of the garden.

“At some point he said to her he was 13 years of age.

“She started to speak to him. He told her to be quiet or he would stab her and she wouldn’t see her mother and father again.”

Miss Beattie told the court the victim had been “significantly traumatised” by her ordeal.

She now had difficulties at school, was not eating properly, had disturbed sleep and could not be left alone.

Zipfel was caught after his DNA matched saliva taken from the victim’s clothing.