Man jailed for sexual offences against children - Reading and Basingstoke

14/11/2014

A man appeared at Reading Crown Court today, Friday, 14 November 2014, and was jailed for 22 years for a number of sexual offences against children.

Robert Ratcliffe, aged 49, of Rowan Road, West Drayton, Hillingdon, was sentenced after being found guilty at Reading Crown Court on 17 September of 12 sexual offences as follows:

  • 7 counts of indecent assault
  • 2  counts of indecency with a child
  • 2  counts of rape
  • 1  count of attempted rape

Between the years of 1980 and 1999, Ratcliffe sexual abused a girl when she was aged between eight and 11, a boy when he was aged between four and six, and another girl when she was aged between six and eight.

The offences took place in properties in Reading and Basingstoke.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved non-recent sexual abuse of two girls and a boy by a man, who is now 49-years-old, in Reading and Basingstoke, between December 1980 and May 1999.  The young age of the victims at the time (4-11) greatly increases the seriousness of the offences.

"Robert Ratcliffe took advantage of his circumstances to prey on young children for his own sexual gratification.  It is only due to the great courage of the victims that the despicable behaviour of this man has been exposed.  I would like to pay tribute to them for their strength and tenacity in coming forward.

"On 17 September 2014, after an eight day trial at Reading Crown Court Ratcliffe was convicted by a jury of 12 out of 14 counts of indecent assault, indecency with a child, rape, and attempted rape.

"The convictions and today's sentence serves as an important message to people who have been the victim of crimes such as these, or those that know such crimes are being committed, should come forward because time is no barrier to justice. The CPS will work closely with partners, as we did with Thames Valley Police in this case, to ensure that robust criminal cases are put before the courts.

"The emotional impact on the victims and their families of the abhorrent actions of this man is impossible to quantify. I hope that the conviction and sentence gives some small comfort to them.  Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Investigating officer Detective Constable Melanie Brown from the Child Abuse Investigation Unit said: "Ratcliffe's offending spanned nearly 20 years and was of the most serious degree.

"He deliberately took advantage of children as young as four in order to satisfy his own sexual gratification.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank the three victims in this case for having the bravery to come to court and give evidence against him. It is because of their courage that he is now facing a long time behind bars.

"We will always take every allegation of sexual abuse extremely seriously, so if you've been a victim or know someone who has, please contact us and help us bring the offender to justice."

In addition to the prison sentence Ratcliffe was given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).