A ‘MANIPULATIVE’ sexual predator raped a young girl whose mother he had met through a dating website – and threatened to kill her family’s dog if she told anyone.
In what a judge described as ‘the grossest breach of trust,’ the man, who cannot be named to protect the identities of his victims, also sexually abused the girl’s two sisters.
The 47-year-old, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to raping the girl when she was 14 or 15 and a number of offences of sexual assault.
He was given an extended prison sentence of nine years in jail, of which he will have to serve at least two-thirds, after which he will be released on licence for the rest of the term and for an additional three years.
He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life and banned from entering Rugby for 15 years.
Prosecutor John Hallissey said a relationship developed after the girls’ mother met the man through a dating website.
But after they moved in together there were ‘intermittent disclosures’ by the girl to a friend, and the matter was reported to school staff, only for her to withdraw what she said.
When she was 13 she made a further disclosure at school, asking for her abuser to be present with a view to confronting him, but withdrew her complaint when her mother turned up as well.
But eventually the police became involved and she took part in a video-recorded interview in which she described how she had been systematically abused after the defendant had moved in.
On a number of occasions he walked in on her when she was in the bath or the shower and touched her inappropriately, after which he would be apologetic.
But on one occasion when she was 13 or 14 he called her into his bedroom and pushed her down onto the bed, and when she tried to get up, he pushed her back down and put a pillow over her face, telling her to shut up or he would hurt her.
Her abuser had told her that whenever he acted in that way he tried to imagine she was his real daughter so that he would stop, but that ‘a red mist’ descended over him.
But he ignored her desperate attempts to tell him she was his daughter and that he could fight the red mist, and performed a sex act on her before calming down and apologising.
Sometimes after he abused her, he would cry and she found herself in the strange situation of having to comfort him.
He also subjected her to threats when she did something wrong, telling her he would tell her mother unless she was ‘his’ for a period of time.
On another occasion he followed her into the bathroom, ordered her to take off her clothes and then to perform a sex act on him, but she refused.
Then on a day when she was off school sick, she woke up with him lying next to her and touching her.
The girl told him to get off, but he told her if she did not comply he would hurt her mother or kill the dog.
She tried to get away but he pulled her back and raped her.
Mr Hallissey said that after the girl came forward, her sisters also revealed the defendant had inappropriately touched them when they were 13 or 14.
Graeme Simpson, defending, said: “He has struggled with his demons, even at the time of committing these offences.”
But Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said: “He spotted she was a good-natured as well as a sensitive and intelligent girl, and one way of manipulating her was to make her feel sorry for him as well as by being intimidating.”
And he told the defendant: “You were a sexual predator, and a clever and manipulative one at that.
“You set the parameters by a mixture of bribes and threats, sometimes emotional and sometimes physical, and it went on for years. It is the grossest breach of trust.”