October 2016

71-year-old man jailed for 17 years for rapes of small girl


A man of 71 has been caged for 17 years after he was convicted for repeatedly raping a schoolgirl 35 years ago.

The judge said that Reginald Styles showed no remorse and he had accused the woman, now in her forties, of being a fantasist who was looking for cash compensation.

She was only nine when he began a series of assaults, with Styles telling the girl her grandparents would go to prison if she told the authorities.

Judge Stephen Ashurst told the retired labourer that he would not be released automatically half way through his sentence.

His case will be referred to the Parole Board who will release him if it is satisfied that it is not necessary for the protection of the public that he should “be confined”.

Styles was convicted of 11 serious sexual offences after a trial at Teesside Crown Court which ended on July 25.

The judge said when he passed sentence on Styles, who must register as a sex offender for life: “Your sexual crimes have cast a dark shadow over her throughout her adult life.

“For a young girl with a difficult start in life you compounded her unhappiness and distrust of other adults.

“She has carried a burden of shame and guilt now into her forties.

“Her Victim Personal Statement which was read in open court today summarises the harsh and ugly reality of child sex offending.

“You appeared unmoved by her suffering. You remain in denial.

“You cannot bring yourself to acknowledge the serious harm for which you are solely responsible.

”And as the pre-sentence report discloses you regard your victim as a mere fantasist in pursuit of compensation. Any understanding or victim empathy is conspicuously absent.”

The judge said that the Sentencing Council which directs judges provides that “offences may be of such severity, for example involving a campaign of rape, that sentences of 20 years and above may be appropriate”.

The judge said that “a campaign of rape” may not be an apt description of Styles’s offending but it was repeated very serious offending against a young and vulnerable victim.

He said that Styles recently celebrated his Pearl wedding anniversary and he had read a letter from his wife speaking highly of him as a husband, father and grandfather.

His wife’s hopes for a long and contented retirement had been shattered.

Letters from his doctor and a local hospital showed that his health was “not untypical” for a man of 71, and a long prison sentence would be daunting for a man of his age.

Styles, of Thetford Road, Hartlepool, was jailed for 17 years with an additional licence period of one year for four offences of rape, six of indecency with a child and one of indecent assault.

July 2016

Pensioner found guilty over child rapes

A MAN of 70 is facing a lengthy prison sentence after being found guilty of a campaign of sexual abuse and rape against a girl four decades ago.

Reginald Styles, from Hartlepool, was yesterday convicted of 11 of the 13 serious charges he faced during a week-long trial at Teesside Crown Court.

He was remanded in custody by Judge Stephen Ashurst until he is sentenced – on a date yet to be fixed – so reports can be prepared on the pensioner.

Styles denied six charges of indecency with a child, four counts of rape and three of indecent assault. He was found guilty of all but two sexual assaults.

His victim – who was a schoolgirl at the time, living in Stockton – claimed he also beat her with a bamboo pole when she rejected his advances.

Now a mother, the woman went to the police when she no longer feared the threats he made about people close to her dying if she ever disclosed the abuse.

Prosecutor Paul Cleasby said in his closing speech to the jury that the victim had “a stunningly accurate memory” of what had happened to her years ago.

The court heard how she “opened up” to her husband after years together, confiding that she had been abused as a child, but refused to say the man’s name.

He said that he noticed she got distressed if they were watching television and a scene involved rape, and she demanded that the programme was switched over.

In a written statement to the jury, he said: “Over the years, she spoke to me about it, but never in great detail.

“She would scream out in her sleep sometimes, and would shout out as though she was being attacked. When I woke her she was visibly frightened.”

The victim recalled how the repeated rapes and sexual assaults seemed “normal” to her, until she reached an age when she knew it was wrong.

Rod Hunt, for Styles, of Thetford Road, Hartlepool, said: “It is almost outrageous to say it, but it is not a story based in truth. People do make stories up.”

The jury – which had been considering its verdicts since Thursday afternoon – rejected Styles’s account that the allegations were made up out of spite.

The jury has already heard the victim could not bear any mention of her attacker’s first name in later years and any mention of it would cause her to “shudder”.

When as interviewed by police, she asked if she could refer to Reginald Styles as just “him”.

Mr Cleasby said Styles “emotionally manipulated” the youngster, by telling her people close to her would die if she ever revealed what he had done.

He told the jury: “The detail cannot be fabricated. She recalls being beaten by this cane. If the allegation was false, why introduce that piece of evidence?

“Her account is graphic and it is detailed.”