A Coventry man has been jailed for 27 years for 13 historical sexual offences against four young girls.
Christopher Hughes, from Delius Street, was convicted by a unanimous verdict after a trial lasting two weeks and sentenced today (Friday 11 August) at Warwickshire Justice Centre.
The court heard how the 34-year-old had progressed from sexual assault to rape as he systematically took advantage of each girl who was aged between nine and 14-years-old at the time. The abuse took place over a number of years from 1998 to 2007.
Although one victim came forward in 2007, there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a case, but when further victims reported abuse, the Crown Prosecution Service had enough to bring Hughes to trial.
Detective Constable Clive Leftwich, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: “Hughes took advantage of these girls from a very young age, at a time when they would have been very frightened about what was happening and scared to tell anyone, believing that they were in some way to blame.
“It has taken several years for them to feel supported enough to talk to police about what they have suffered and I applaud their courage in coming forward.
“It would have been a very difficult experience to relive what happened and I hope they can gain some comfort from the fact that Hughes has been jailed for a very long time for the years of abuse he put them through."
On passing down sentence, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told Hughes: “When you offend in this way against young girls, you ruin their childhood and you introduce them to a world where adults do not protect them."
Hughes was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.
DC Leftwich added: "We have an excellent track record of bringing historic sex offenders to justice and I would urge anyone who has suffered abuse in the past to get in touch. We work with a raft of other agencies who can offer support through every step of the criminal justice process.
"There are a range of measures designed to protect victims which include giving evidence in court via video link or from behind a screen."
To report abuse call police on 101.
The National Association for People Abused in Childhood is a charity providing survivors of non-recent abuse with support and advice. Visit: http://www.napac.org.uk/or call 0808 801 0331.