October 2017

Shepshed 70-year-old jailed for sexually abusing girl

A 70-year-old man from Shepshed has been jailed for seven years for sexually abusing a young girl more than 50 years ago.

Michael Victor Burton was convicted by a jury of a series of assaults upon a schoolgirl from the age of eight, when he was a teenage college student the Leicester Mercury reports.

Burton, of Linley Avenue, Shepshed, who went on to live a law-abiding life throughout adulthood, was told the offences against the “vulnerable” youngster were “unforgiveable.”

Sentencing at Leicester Crown Court, Deputy Judge Michael Stokes QC said: “These offences go back a considerable number of years, right back into the 1960s when you were yourself a teenager, although over 18, when two (serious sex) offences were committed.

“Sentencing in such a case is always extremely difficult.

“On one hand we have the victim.

“When she was a child, under 10, you subjected her to a degree of persistent indecency.

“She hardly understood what was happening to her, although as time went on she obviously realised what had happened to her at your hands.

“The damage that is done to individuals who are subjected to this sort of sexual abuse is incalculable.

“It’s been with her, nagging away in her mind, for 50 years.

“Anyone subjected to traumatic events when they are very young, inevitably, will never forget.

“Such consideration never passed through your mind at the time.

“On the other hand, you’re now 70-years-old.

“After you matured, you went on to live and, I entirely accept, a perfectly upright life.

“You married and produced children and the references I’ve read talk of a completely different individual.

“Some might ask ‘what’s the point of locking someone up for what they did 50 years ago,’ but a balance has to be achieved.

“Were these offences committed in the present day the sentence would be in double figures.

“I have to take account, not only of the time that’s passed but the level of your maturity at the time and your positive good character since these offences concluded.

“I have to consider the youth and vulnerability of the victim, who was a little girl of eight or nine when these offences began although the indecency probably started before that.

“There was a gradual build-up of touching, kissing, playing games … for a child of that age to experience such horrific treatment is unforgiveable.”

Burton, who denied the offences, was told he would serve about half of the sentence with the remainder on licence and will have to enlist on a sex offender register for life.

Robert Underwood, prosecuting, said a victim personal statement described the complainant as having waited 50 years for justice.

He quoted her statement: “It’s held me back from enjoying my life as I should have been able to with confidence and self-worth.”

Mr Underwood added: “Throughout her adult life, this has been a cloud hanging over her.”

The victim described the abuse as having had a “drastic effect” upon her life, adding in her statement: “The anguish I’ve had of living with this won’t go away any time soon, if ever.”

The court heard the defendant had told the girl: “This is our secret.

“If you tell anybody you won’t be believed and you’ll be in trouble.”

Burton was convicted of seven counts of indecent assault and two serious sex offences, during the 1960s.

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