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Your body ‘belongs to me and God’, man told schoolgirl he raped
A PENSIONER who repeatedly raped a vulnerable teenage girl he met through his church has been jailed for ten years.
Christopher Williams befriended the child when he gave her lifts from her home in Marlborough to Bible classes in Swindon in the 1970s.
The 72-year-old started having sex with the child against her will in Savernake Forest when she was aged just 14.
And when there wasn’t time, the father-of-two boys got her to perform sex acts on him as he drove her home following church meetings.
Williams insisted they had consensual sex just once shortly before she turned 16 and once she was of age they had a ‘loving relationship’.
But a jury rejected his version of events and found him guilty of two counts of rape and three of indecent assault, while he admitted to a fourth count.
The court heard Williams was living in Ogbourne St Andrew when he met the girl through William Street Chapel in Swindon.
Passing sentence at Swindon Crown Court, Recorder Sarah Vaughan Jones QC said: “You were initially introduced as someone you could give a lift to chapel.
“You and your wife took her under your wing and she spent many nights at your home with your children. You would drive her home from your house and Bible meetings.
“You raped her when she was 14 or 15. Sexual intercourse took place in Savernake Forest.
“She was a virgin. She didn’t fight you off. You didn’t use violence but you made it clear she was going to do what you wanted.
“You told her in letters that you loved her, also that what was happening to her was your secret between her and God: her body belonged to you and God.
“You told her if she told anyone no one would believe her because of your position in the church. The contact ended when you wife found a note about meeting.
“She was a lonely and vulnerable young girl from a troubled family, there was a significant age gap of about 20 years.
“Though you had no formal position in the church your standing in the church was high. This affected her confidence and relationships since.”
As well as jailing him for 10 years she said he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his days.
Earlier Fiona Elder, defending, said her client had a number of ailments and his wife has been in a care home for about five years with Huntingdon’s Disease.
She said aside from the offences he was convicted of he had not been in trouble with the police before or after.
Williams had been accused of raping the child, now a woman in her 50s, starting when she was just 12 years old in 1975, but was cleared of offences when she was aged 13 and under.
Despite the abuse taking place 40 years ago the woman said she was prompted to come forward in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
She said Williams, who worked as a farm manager, would also pick her up from near her home Marlborough to take her to the church in Lockeridge.
He used to tell her ‘As long as we ask God for forgiveness he will forgive us,’ and that her body belonged to him and God, not her.
Williams, now of Stoke Canon, Exeter, denied five counts of rape and six of indecent assault, admitting one indecent assault.
The jury found him guilty of two rape and three indecent assaults, all by unanimous verdicts apart from one of the rapes, which was by a majority of 10 to two.
Detective Sergeant Gareth Kitchener, of Wiltshire Police, said: “I am pleased with the sentence given out and I am hopeful that it will encourage other victims of sexual assault to find the strength to come forward and report offences – justice will be done.
“I would like to take this opportunity to praise the bravery of the victim in coming forward and reporting this incident.
“Anyone wishing to report a crime should contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.
“Victims can also seek support and counselling from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) based at the New Swindon Sanctuary, The Gables, Shrivenham Road, Swindon.
“The SARC is a dedicated centre offering support to any victim of a sexual assault where trained professionals can provide immediate medical care and treatment, a forensic examination, counselling and onward referral to other necessary services.