Fifteen-year jail sentence for 62-year-old paedophile after string of sexual offences.
A judge has sentenced a convicted paedophile to 15 years behind bars for a string of historical sex offences on a young girl as young as 10. Graham Roberts, 62, was found guilty of seven counts of indecent assault by a jury at Derby Crown Court.
Judge Jonathan Bennett said the usual 10-year maximum jail time was “nowhere near enough for these very serious offences” and handed him an extended sentence. Roberts had started grooming the youngster in the 1990s when she was just 10 years old, the court heard. He regularly parked his car near the girl’s Derby home and played a particular song to lure her into his vehicle, where he sexually touched her.
Judge Bennett said the abuse escalated and some of the charges were the equivalent of assault by penetration if committed under today’s laws. One count is an “alternative” to attempted rape, he added.
Roberts, currently of HMP Whatton, was convicted in 2014 of attempting to groom an underage girl by offering her sweets near her Pear Tree home. The sex offender, then of Chatsworth Street, Normanton, formerly went by the name of Graham Cheetham and was jailed for three years.
He had just finished his jail term when he was charged and remanded into custody for the latest offences.
Graham Roberts, 62, formerly of Normanton
In a victim impact statement read to the court, the woman said she had been left unable to trust men for many years after the abuse and, when she had her first baby girl, she felt uncomfortable leaving her alone with her husband.
She added: “I struggled with people wanting to hug me or show me affection, it made me feel very uncomfortable and emotional. At the age of 14, I developed an eating disorder and OCD and my weight went down to just six-and-a-half stone.
“I feel I will always be affected by this. But I have reached the stage where I feel strong enough to ask for help and manage my emotions. When he was found guilty I felt like the biggest weight had been lifted off my chest. I feel like I can now go forward with my life as I no longer have to keep secret what happened to me.”
The woman, whose name is protected by law, had overdosed on prescription drugs a couple of times when a teenager due to the horrific abuse, David Allan, prosecuting, told the court.
In mitigation, David Hewitt for Roberts, said: “His behaviour at HMP Whatton is exemplary and he is somebody who has much to offer to society. He has addressed his behaviour problems through a number of courses while in custody and his probation officers says he has made great progress.
“When the victim told him to stop, he did stop, that is clear. Mr Roberts does not present a danger to society.”
Roberts was acquitted by the jury of one count of attempted rape.
Judge Bennett said: “The court takes the view that you are a high risk, particularly to young girls. You attempted to minimise your previous convictions during trial and that troubled me. You indicated that you only pleaded guilty to previous offences because you had been told to do so.
“You wanted sexual gratification and you sunk to such depths that you abused an underage girl, you asked her for photographs and you bought her things. “The victim should be commended for her bravery. I hope she can continue with her life now.”
Judge Bennett also handed Roberts a restraining order preventing him from contacting the victim.
A spokesman for children’s charity the NSPCC said: “Roberts was brought to justice for these appalling crimes thanks to his victim’s bravery. This case shows that survivors of abuse can speak out in the knowledge they will be listened to, regardless of how many years have passed or who the abuser is. They do not need to suffer in silence.
“They can talk in confidence, 24/7, to trained counsellors at the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000, while children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or via http://www.childline.org.uk.”