April 2019

Law finally catches up with man who carried out vile crimes

A man who abused four young girls after he won their ‘affection and trust’ has finally been jailed 25 years after he made their lives hell.

Stephen Winter of Miller Way in Waddington, Lincoln, told one of his victims it was their “special secret”.

The 45-year-old was found guilty of indecent assaults at a trial in Nottingham Crown Court.

He was handed an eight-year sentence, according to Nottinghamshire Live.

Judge Jeremy Lea told him: “You moved away, and must have thought you had got away with it.

“But what you did left its mark, it often does.”

The four victims, now adults, had been living near Newark where they often played together.

“Over time you groomed them,” said the judge.

“You won their affection and trust. On several occasions you abused that trust and you sexually abused them.

“You told one it was your ‘special secret’.”

He said one of the women could not forget what he had done to her and had suffered ever since with depression and anxiety. She was aged five at the time of the abuse.

It wasn’t until 2016 she found the emotional strength and courage to formally disclose what you had done,” the judge told him.

“The truth will come out, as it has done here. Your past has finally caught up with you.

“The sentence must reflect the seriousness of what you have done. The sentence would have been shorter, if you had had the courage to admit what you had done.”

On three charges he sentenced Winter to an aggregate term of eight years – seven in custody and one year on licence. He gave him lesser sentences on three further charges of indecent assault.

The judge added: “After you have completed three-and-a-half years of this sentence you will be eligible for parole and you will be released by the parole board any time thereafter when considered safe to do so. So you will be on licence until the expiry of the eight-year term.”

He made a restraining order on two of the victims for ten years “to give them the comfort there is no risk of you making contact with them”, he said.

He will also be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and the sex offenders’ register on his release.

Alan Murphy, who prosecuted the trial at Nottingham Crown Court, read out a moving statement from one of the woman, who said: “I still don’t speak in full detail about the abuse.”

“I will never get an apology and an explanation why he did what he did,” she said.

A second victim’s statement revealed she had suffered in silence for many years as a result of what happened.

“I was a very young child,” she said. “What happened to me should never happen to a child”.