A RAPIST has been jailed for 17 years for a “campaign of sexual abuse” committed against a girl more than three decades ago when he was a teenager.
Martin Coles (54), of Highthorn Road, Kilnhurst, who was found guilty in February of five counts of rape and 18 counts of indecent assault committed between 1977 and 1983, was also told he would spend a year on licence when released.
Sentencing him at Sheffield Crown Court last Friday, Judge Rachael Harrison said that Coles’ sex attacks on the girl were over a prolonged period and suggested planning.
He was aged between 13 and 17 at the time of the offences.
Prosecutor Ms Geraldine Kelly said Coles’ victim, now aged 47, was sexually assaulted many times up until the age of 11.
Ms Kelly said: “The abuse she suffered not only affected her as a child but also as an adult.”
In Coles’ defence, Ms Claire Ashcroft said that his health issues — including a recent hip replacement — would mean he would have a difficult time in jail.
But Judge Harrison blasted Coles for his attacks on the girl and said his offences showed a “campaign of sexual abuse” and “an element of grooming”.
Judge Harrison told Coles: “The offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified.”
The sentence was welcomed by the NSPCC and a spokesman said after the hearing: “Coles’ sentence should send a clear message to victims of child sexual abuse that no matter how much time has passed it is vitally important they have the courage to come forward so abusers can be brought to justice. And survivors can finally receive help and support.
“Coles was a schoolboy when he committed these disturbing attacks on a young child and we know that a third of all child sexual offences are committed by children. It is vital that those who commit these offences are helped to address their sexually harmful behaviour and thereby reduce the number of victims.
“The NSPCC’s Turn the Page programme works directly with children who are exhibiting sexually harmful behaviour to stop it developing further.”
Any young person who needs help can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or childline.org.uk.
Adults concerned about a child’s safety can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.
South Yorkshire Police said it did not hold a custody photograph of Coles because he had been interviewed voluntarily.