March 2020

Man jailed for sex assaults on young girls in Worthing and Littlehampton

A man now living in Lancashire has been given a sentence totalling 26 years for a series of sexual offences against three young girls in West Sussex and Cleveland in the 1980s and 1990s.

Police said Neville Crouch, 63, of Plungington Road, Preston, Lancashire, was sentenced when he appeared at Hove Crown Court today (Tuesday, March 3), having been convicted after a trial in December 2019.

He was convicted of assaulting a girl aged under 16 in Hartlepool and Littlehampton in the 1980s and early 1990s, on a girl aged under 16 in Hartlepool in the 1990s, and on a girl under the age of 16 in the 1980s in Goring.

Police said he will serve 21 years in custody plus a further five years on extended prison licence.

Crouch will also be a registered sex offender for life.

The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by detectives from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit which began after information was received by police for the first time in 2017.

Detective Constable Andrew Roe said: “Crouch, who lived and worked as a taxi driver in both Hartlepool and Littlehampton during the 1980s and 1990s, came to know his three young victims…and ruthlessly took advantage of them for his own sexual gratification, against two of them over a period of years.

“The victim of the offences in both locations, having suffered in silence for many years afterwards, eventually and very bravely found the resolve to come to us in 2017.

“We immediately began enquiries and traced the other two victims. We ensured that they had access to expert personal support and advice, and all three supported our investigation throughout and resolutely gave evidence at Crouch’s trial, for which they have our admiration.

“This is another example of the way in which, working with the CPS, we will always follow up such reports no matter how long ago the events were, and seek justice wherever the evidence will enable us to do so.”