December 2011


Builder Martin Park pulled off his 15-year-old victim’s clothing and terror rendered her unable to move or speak during the attack, a court heard.

After the incident he tried to “buy the silence” of his teenage victim with a shopping trip to Barrow.

A jury failed to reach a verdict during a trial in April.

During the three-day retrial at Preston Crown Court in September, Park claimed the victim had flirted with him and attempted to initiate sex on the night of the rape in 2007 and they had kissed for up to a minute.

But Park, 41, of Wasdale Road, Millom, was found guilty by a jury.

Unshaven Park, who wore a yellow T-shirt and jeans, stood impassive and waved to people in the public gallery as Judge Norman Wright handed down a nine-year jail term, reduced by 88 days to take into account time spent on remand.

Judge Wright said although Park had been drinking before he committed the offence, this was no excuse.

Judge Wright said: “It is clear on the evidence I have heard that afterwards you tried to buy her silence with a shopping trip to Barrow.”

He acknowledged there was “another side” to Park and he had seen acertificate of merit that had been issued to the defendant by police, nor did he consider that Park presented a serious risk of re-offending.

But, he said: “I have to have a regard to the effect this has had on the victim.”

The victim finally reported the incident to police last year.

Detective Sergeant Duncan Brooker, from Cumbria police’s Public Protection Unit, praised the victim’s bravery in coming forward. He said: “We are very pleased at the verdict and hope that this serves as a message to both the victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse the police and the Crown Prosecution Service take any allegations of this nature extremely seriously.

“While we can never predict the outcome of an investigation, victims can be assured their disclosures will be investigated in a thorough and professional manner.

“With specific reference to this case, as a relatively historic complaint, this was an investigation that presented a number of challenges, but key to securing the conviction was the strength of the victim in coming forward and being prepared to face her abuser and seeing it through to its conclusion. Without the victim’s co-operation and bravery, Park’s sexual offending would never have come to light, potentially leaving him at liberty to offend against others. As it is, Park is now behind bars where he deserves to be.”

Park was given a sex offenders order, barring him from unsupervised contact with under 16s, and sentenced to a month for not registering his address with police on conviction for the rape.

This will be served consecutively with the nine-year sentence.