Abuser jailed for ‘reign of terror’
A PAEDOPHILE who subjected a young girl to a “reign of terror” has been given a 17-year extended prison sentence.
For more than 30 years, John Sawyer, 66, escaped justice for his crimes of sexual and physical abuse, York Crown Court heard.
But after his victim gave evidence against him twice, he is today starting his lengthy prison sentence. She was at primary school when he abused her.
Recorder Caroline Wigin told Sawyer: “You were violent to this child… she was subjected to humiliation at your hands, you controlled her… by imposing a reign of terror.
“I’ve heard evidence of this violence and I accept entirely the complainant’s account you would burn her hand with a cigarette, … and kick her and tell her nobody could hear her.
“On one occasion you stabbed her fingers with scissors and explained it was an accident.
“You moved from simple physical abuse of this child to sexual abuse.”
She gave him an extended prison sentence of 16 years plus an extra year’s supervision following the end of the 16 years.
She also ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register for life and made him subject to a lifelong sexual harm prevention order which bars him from contacting any girl under the age of 16.
A York jury found Sawyer, of Vincent Way, Foxwood, guilty after a trial in May of several charges of rape and indecent assault, which he had denied.
It was his second trial. At an earlier trial at York Crown Court last September, the jury couldn’t reach verdicts on the sexual charges, but acquitted him of causing actual bodily harm to the girl when she was very young.
The defence handed in medical reports indicating that Sawyer is now in poor health and suffers from chronic shoulder pain and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The judge told the court the abuse began with physical abuse. The judge said when the girl became “terrified” of her abuser, he raped and sexually humiliated the youngster.
When she told a friend at school about the crimes as a teenager, social services became involved.
However, Sawyer persuaded the girl to tell them she had made up the allegations.
The judge said the girl, now a woman, finally went to the police after decades of silence in 2014.
She had heard that by then children in Sawyer’s family were the same age as she had been when she was abused and she feared for their safety at his hands.