Pensioner jailed for historic sex abuse - Dunstable

01/03/2013

A Judge who jailed a 72 year man for historical sex abuse said the victim's statement about the trauma she had suffered during the 30 years since the assaults was one of the most 'moving' documents he had ever read in court.

Lawrence Benford, who admitted raping the schoolgirl in the mid 1970s in Dunstable, was jailed for thirteen and a half years at Luton Crown Court today, Friday, 01 March 2013.

He has lived for many years in Guernsey and was charged with the sexual offences last year. He was due to stand trial in January this year, but on the day of his trial he pleaded guilty to two specimen charges of indecent assault and three specimen charges of rape.

The charges dated back to between 1973 and 1979. The victim was under 12 at the time.

David Mathew, prosecuting said the abuse was first reported to a GP in 1978, but no action was taken. But in 2009 she felt able to give police a statement about what had happened to her. She said she had been threatened by Benford that he would kill her if she told anyone.

Judge Richard Foster told Benford: "I have read the victim's impact statement and it is one of the most moving documents I have read while being at this court.

"What you did to that young girl has affected her life, her happiness and her relationships. I am amazed at her bravery in bringing this matter to court. I hope earnestly that this day will bring her some solace and finality."

Robert English, defending said Benford deserved credit for pleading guilty, even though it was only on the day of his trial.

"She did not have to give evidence and face cross examination.

"Also he is now 72 and not in the best of health."

In addition to the jail term Benford will be under a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for the rest of his life, one condition of which is that he must give three weeks notice if he intends to travel away from Guernsey.

The court was told that he cannot sign the Sex Offender's Register as it does not exist on the Channel Island.

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