Victim of abuse cries herself to sleep most nights, court told

·3-min read
The victim disclosed the abuse to a friend, the court heard.
The victim disclosed the abuse to a friend, the court heard.

A YOUNG north Cumbrian man has been jailed for more than five years after he admitted subjecting his sister to years of sexual abuse.

The victim’s ordeal came to light after the girl – a primary school age child when the abuse began – disclosed what happened to a friend and the offender handed himself in to the police, Carllisle Crown Court heard.

At an earlier hearing, the defendant entered guilty pleas to 12 child sex offences, which included sexual assaults and two allegations of being an adult engaging in sexual activity with a child.

The defendant persisted with the sexual abuse despite the girl's attempts to move away from him and even though she told him to stop, the court heard.  Prosecutor Tim Evans read from an impact statement written by the girl.

The court had earlier been told she was so young when the abuse began that she had no comprehension of what was happening. But the horror of her situation later came to dominate her life, the court heard.

“She is subject to panic attacks and has self-harmed from an early age,” said Mr Evans. The girl had taken overdoses three times in two years and she continued to have suicidal thoughts.

“She cries herself to sleep three or four times per week,” said Mr Evans.

When she did fall asleep, she had nightmares. The girl also felt an entirely unjustified guilt about disclosing the abuse, creating the equivalent of of a 'nuclear bomb' going off in her family, said Mr Evans.

Judith McCullough, defending, said the defendant had made 'full and frank admissions' after surrendering himself to the police.

“That demonstrated the horror and the remorse felt by this defendant,” said the barrister.

She said the defendant had experienced a 'unstable and traumatic' childhood himself and recognised fully the harm he had caused. Assessed as being on the autistic spectrum, and to have ADHD, his offending was linked to his mental health conditions, said Miss McCullough.

The barrister said most of the defendant's offending was committed when he was himself a child.

Recorder Kate Bex QC noted the ongoing impact of the abuse on the victim, as outlined in her moving impact statement.

“She can no longer bear to be around men... She has panic attacks; it’s had an impact on her relationship with her mother.”

The judge also noted the defendant had himself suffered mistreatment and how he had at one time been on the local authority child protection register. Noting his mental health problems, the judge said those conditions were not an excuse for his offending and he knew what he was doing was wrong.

The defendant was jailed for five years and two months.

He will be on the Sex Offender Register for life and he will be subject to restrictions as part of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the next decade. The defendant can not be named for legal reasons.

MORE FROM COURT: Former police officer and lawyer made more than £1m from Cumbrian cannabis plant