April 2009

Schoolgirl rapist gets nine years

A father-of-three who raped a ‘vulnerable’ schoolgirl in her own bed has been jailed for nine years.

Duncan McDowell, 36, had only been out of jail weeks when he molested the terrified child at her home in Burnley.

The defendant, who at first denied the attack but later owned up after scientific and medical evidence was served on him, had carried on the assault even though the victim repeatedly tried to fight him off.

When it was over, he told her: “You have got to keep this quiet,” Burnley Crown Court heard.

McDowell had earlier admitted the rape, committed last July.

The defendant, lately of Tennyson Drive, Boarshaw, was also banned from working with children indefinitely and given an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention order, prohibiting him from having contact with children.

He had been on remand 88 days.

Sentencing, Judge Simon Newell told the defendant he accepted the attack was not planned or premeditated, that he had been drinking and he had no history of violent behaviour.

He said: “But on that particular night you took advantage of that vulnerable and very young girl.”

The judge said the schoolgirl must have been terrified, concerned and upset about what had happened in the moments before McDowell left and it was not known how the ordeal would affect her in the future.

Judge Newell continued: “This was in pursuance of drunken sexual gratification rather than the sort of act carried out because you have a preference for sex with children.”

Sara Dodd, prosecuting, said the victim, who had been out with friends, had gone to bed and had fallen asleep. She woke up to find the defendant kneeling at the side of her, with his hand down her pants.

Miss Dodd said the girl was scared and pretended to still be asleep, but McDowell got into her bed and began to pull her pants down. Despite efforts to push him off McDowell would not stop and raped her.

McDowell told her not to say anything to anyone. She then remained in bed and cried herself to sleep.

The prosecutor said the next morning, the victim, who did not tell her mother what had happened, confided in her schoolfriend and together they went to the police station in Burnley and reported the defendant. The victim was video interviewed the same day.

McDowell was later arrested and denied any impropriety. The girl’s mother said that after the rape her daughter became quiet and withdrawn and she felt like she had lost her. The court was told the victim had problems with her schooling.