A pervert who continued to sexually abuse a young girl after she made a complaint against him has been jailed for 15 years.
The victim’s earlier allegations against John Pepler were investigated by the police, but she bowed to pressure she received and pretended she was lying.
Pepler then continued with his devastating campaign of abuse, involving an attempt to rape her and using blackmail tactics to maintain her silence.
Several years later she had the courage to go to the police again and Pepler, of Cremer Place, Faversham, was arrested.
The 72-year-old pensioner maintained his innocence but a jury took just two hours on Monday to convict him of six offences of indecent assault, attempted rape and indecency with a child
A judge told him: “You cynically exploited her for your own sexual desires over a substantial period of time.
“It seems to me there was a good deal of thought and planning and cunning in the way you treated her in this particularly unpleasant series of offences.”
Maidstone Crown Court heard the victim retracted her earlier complaints to undo damage she was alleged to have caused, and the matter was dropped.
But Pepler still continued to abuse the girl and tried to have intercourse with her, but was unable to do so. He also made her watch pornographic videos.
“None of this she wanted him to do,” said prosecutor Patricia May.
“She was scared. He told her he no longer had sex with his wife.”
The victim decided to go for counselling in 2016 to cope with what happened to her. She then went to the police again.
After his arrest, Pepler gave a prepared statement in which he denied the allegations, saying he had not touched his victim “for a sexual reason”. He claimed he touched her because she asked him to.
Following conviction, Dominic Webber, defending, told Judge Martin Huseyin: “Whatever sentence you pass may mean he doesn’t leave prison.”
The judge told Pepler he took advantage of his victim’s vulnerability.
“It had a very serious effect on her,” he said.
“Fortunately, she is in a much better place now. For many years she was deeply affected by what you did to her.
“It took an astonishing amount of courage and fortitude to complain. It is courage she didn’t have until she was older.
“You have some mitigation for your good character. That has its limitations. Offences of this sort are often committed by those who tend to offend in ways which are out of character to the way they behave to other people in their lives.”
Pepler’s name will be on the sex offenders’ register for life.