May 2017

Paedophile caged for 15 years for a string of sex offences against young girl

A convicted paedophile has been jailed for a total of 15 years 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.

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.”

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.