Simpson stood unblinking in the dock as he heard he would serve at least two-thirds of his jail time behind bars. He must serve an extended five years on licence.
The Melksham man showed little emotion throughout the hour-long hearing, only briefly placing his hands over his ears and staring towards the ceiling as prosecutor David Scutt read an impact statement from the victim’s mother telling of the devastation his sexual abuse had had on the whole family.
Between January 2019 and October last year, Simpson subjected his victim – then aged 11 and 12 – to a campaign of abuse.
His sexual abuse had occurred “too many times to count”, the girl told police and included rape and other forms of assault.
Knowing the girl’s mother checked her phone, Simpson invented coded phrases for sexual activity like “cuddles tonight?” that he would send her via WhatsApp.
Mr Scutt said: “He asked her if she would like what he was doing to her and if she said no, he would become in her words angry or moody with her for days.”
The girl disclosed the abuse first to her younger sister then, last October, to her mother.
Simpson was swiftly arrested but denied wrongdoing. However, he admitted to his own mum he had “been in a sexual involvement” with the girl and that it had been consensual.
Horrified by her son’s lack of remorse, his mother gave a statement to the police. She said: “I decided if Luke was not going to admit what had happened I was going to have to call it in myself.” The man’s father, who also gave a statement to the police, said giving the account “seems like the most terrible thing ever but I know I have to”.
Interviewed a second time, Simpson claimed the sexual activity had been initiated by his victim. He admitted being “wrecked on drugs and alcohol”, said he hadn’t been living in “actual reality” and had been “away with the fairies”.
Mr Scutt made clear that Simpson had not entered a basis of plea and his sick claims to detectives were not accepted by the prosecution.
In an impact statement read to the court, his young victim said: “I struggle to trust men and feel like I’m not normal. As a 12-year-old girl I feel ashamed to have been treated like that.” She added: “He made me feel anxious, I sometimes thought he would kill me if I told anyone. I would feel safer knowing he is in prison.” In her own statement, the victim’s mother praised her daughter and described Simpson as sick and demonic.
Simpson, formerly of Atworth, near Melksham, pleaded guilty to rape of a child, assault of a child by penetration and sexual assault
Judge Taylor said the man’s offending amounted to a “campaign of rape”.
Imposing an extended sentence comprised of 18 years’ imprisonment and a further five years on licence, the judge said: “Your brazen offending coupled with the risks that you were prepared to take to gratify your sexual desires is deeply concerning.
“It was cunning, it was planned, it was determined, it was predatory, it was manipulative.
“When seen in conjunction with your distorted and twisted view of her initiating or consenting to behaviour it reveals a troubling lack of empathy and insight which undoubtedly in my view heightens the risk to other young girls.
“In my view, you will require extremely close management and monitoring on your release and an extended sentence not only manages that risk but also facilitates lengthier and more in-depth work to continue and indeed for your attitudes to be tested.”
Simpson left the dock to taunts of “bye” from the public gallery. He will remain a sex offender for life and must abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely.