A pervert has been jailed after his sexual abuse of a young girl more than 20 years ago was reported to the police.
Christopher Champion was 16 when he started molesting the victim and continued to do so for a considerable time.
The 40-year-old cleaner, of Diana Gardens, Deal, was sentenced to seven and a half years behind bars after the victim gave “harrowing evidence” about what he did to her.
He denied rape, attempted rape and four charges of indecent assault. He was convicted of all offences, apart from rape.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the girl was aged about eight when Champion started behaving indecently with her.
She did not say anything at the time because she feared she would get into trouble. It was not until her mother and grandparents had died that she felt able to complain to the police.
Now an adult, she said she froze when abused by Champion. She told how he tried to rape her on one occasion and claimed he actually did rape her another time.
“Looking back now, she feels she never had a choice,” said prosecutor Paul Valder. “The abuse was just part of a routine.”
She had told partners over the years that she had been sexually abused as a child without naming her attacker.
When she did eventually officially report the matter she explained she had not been able to say anything while her mother and grandparents were alive and she was now “clearing the decks”.
After his arrest in June 2016, Champion denied the offences and claimed he did not find the victim attractive. He added he did not know why she would make up the allegations.
Judge David Griffith-Jones QC told him: “You regularly and systematically sexually abused your victim. The account she gave in evidence was harrowing.
“Sadly, it is the sort of account one hears in this and other courts all too often. The psychological effect likely to be inflicted on the victim is often extreme and long-term.
“It is a great credit to her that she has survived and made a success of her life. She is also entitled to be proud of having the courage to make the disclosure she did and then give evidence at trial.
“I very much hope the events of today may at least start the process of closure.”
The judge told Champion: “A sentence of some length is demanded. Nothing less will do.”
His name will appear on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.