November 2009

Child rapist, 59, jailed for inflicting months of misery on child victim


A MAN who repeatedly abused a young girl over several months more than two decades ago has been jailed for 14 years.

Dennis Carter raped and indecently assaulted the girl over a period of time, at one point laughing as he took photographs telling her he would send them to magazines.

The 59-year-old, of High Street, Leek, denied three charges of rape and 12 of indecent assault or indecency with a child.

As well as being raped, the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was forced into a series of other degrading sexual activities.

In one incident, Carter laughed as he took photos and told the girl he was going to send them to magazines.

But he was found guilty by a jury yesterday after a four-day trial at Stafford crown court.

The offences were said to of taken place in Milwich.

Recorder Mr Stephen Linehan QC told Carter: “You don’t have the slightest remorse for what you did even now.”

The defendant, who was also banned from working with children and ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, maintained the abuse never happened.

But the jury did not believe him and the judge said: “You treated that child vilely. You instinctively knew she was vulnerable and couldn’t protect herself.

“To pleasure yourself, you inflicted on her misery month after month that is difficult to imagine.”

“You treated that child vilely. You instinctively knew she was vulnerable and couldn’t protect herself and would not dare to complain,” the judge told Carter.

“To pleasure yourself, you inflicted on her misery month after month that is difficult to imagine.

“You have caused lasting damage to her. You do not get extra punishment for denying the charges, but with selfishness and self interest you forced her into a public court and made her repeat these things in public.”

After the sentence, the victim said: “When the verdicts were coming in, I was in the gallery, there was no reaction from him. His face was white and he was staring straight at the judge. When he was sentenced, I leaned forward so I could see him properly and he stood up and looked at me. I looked straight at him but there was no emotion.

“I didn’t hate him. I didn’t feel sorry for him. I just felt relief it was all over.”

“Initially it began as exposure and progressed as I got slightly older,” she says. “The abuse happened on a nightly basis or at least every other night. He’d come into my room when I was on my own.

“When I was about 10 he took some pictures and said he was going to send them to magazines to make some money which mum would be really happy about because I knew we were really struggling financially.

“It reached its worst point when I was 11, when he raped me. I knew it wasn’t right. I hated him with a passion but it became part of my normal life. I ignored him as much as possible.”

“For a time if there was anything that was sharp enough, I would cut myself with it,” she says. “It made me feel better for a bit then I had to hide my arms. I always had a Tubigrip on, pretending that I’d sprained my wrist. I managed to cover it up and it’s only now I’m older that I realise why I was doing it.

“When I left home, I was struggling in my own mind. I used to get home after work, forget about eating and crack open a bottle of wine. It took my mind off everything but it was delaying the inevitable. As for boyfriends, it was a whole different world.

“You realise that you don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t know how you should be reacting with men. Sexual relationships were difficult. I used to break down in tears.”

“Dennis used the classic lines on me when I was a child. ‘Don’t tell your mum because you’ll upset her’ or ‘She won’t believe you’. He knew I was close to her so it was emotional blackmail.

“After I told her and because she was the only one I was trying to protect through all of this, I thought, ‘Now she knows, I might as well report it’. I didn’t think the police would take me seriously at first because it was so far in the past and there was no DNA to prove it.”

She was wrong. The police did take her seriously and after 18 months of careful investigation, which involved piecing together information from the girl’s diaries, letters and medical notes, the case came to court in November.

“I expected him to plead guilty,” she says. “This was a man who had caused me so much pain in my life. I should have decided on the person I was going to be and he did that for me.

“In court it was like being raped again, because you have to go into graphic detail but you have to answer these questions otherwise it just becomes my word against his.

“But I switched off from it and at that point said to myself, ‘I’ve got a job to do, I’ve come this far’. If I hadn’t have done that, the last two years would have been a complete waste.

“I wish I’d done it 10 years ago. I don’t hate myself anymore because I know now it had nothing to do with me. He influenced my life to a point. That has now stopped. I am stronger today and I make my own decisions.

“Kids who are abused don’t wave flags or shout about it. It’s more common than people realise and a lot of times cases don’t get to court. But I would advise anyone who has been through the same thing as me to think about going to the police, even if it’s years later. You’ve got to take the chance.”