August 2017

Horndean paedophile sexually abused children as young as five

A sexual predator has been given a 10-year jail sentence for sexually abusing children as young as five years old.

Robert Coker separately abused three children who were aged five, six and nine over the course of a five-month period.

He lured the children away from the safety of their parents through promises of support and comfort, including tempting one of them with sweets.

The abuse only became known to the police after the children told their parents, breaking the ‘promises’ that they had made to Coker that they keep silent

The offences happened between September 1, 2015 and February 18, 2016, taking place across the Portsmouth area and at his home address of Merchistoun Road, Horndean.

Coker was given the jail term after being found guilty of the abuse by a jury at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Sentencing Coker at the same court, Recorder Michael Vere-Hodge QC said the 52-year-old should be ‘deeply ashamed’ of his actions.

He told Coker: ‘You were trusted to care for them as if you were a relative. ‘They were vulnerable, innocent and they did not know what was in your mind.

‘You relied on the children not talking about you and what you were doing. ‘If they did, you relied on the defence that they would never be believed.

‘Once their accounts were examined, it was perfectly clear that it was the best you could come up with as a defence.

‘It is to be hoped that the children will be able to put these memories behind them but my experience of court has shown me that when things go wrong in people’s lives, it can be traced back to the abuse they suffered when they were younger.

‘This is plainly an abuse of trust. ‘You were trusted to care for these children and you abused that trust.’

Coker was sentenced for four counts of sexual assault of a female child under the age of 13 and one count of causing or inciting a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.

A jury had found him not guilty on three counts of exposure and one other count of causing a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.

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