A MAN from Southam who raped a child 30 years ago was sent down for 15 years on Friday.
Sent down on Friday August 3, Richard Guy Wells, 66, was convicted of seven counts of Rape and Indecent Assault on a female under the age of 16 years. The abuse started when the child was about 6 years old and continued until her mid-teens. Wells was arrested after the girl, who is now an adult in her 30s, reported the abuse following two years of counselling, which gave her the courage to come forward to the police.
PSI Peter Herring, from Warwickshire Police Child Protection Unit, said that was often the case with victims abused in their early years.
“The biggest barrier to reporting a sexual assault tends to be a combination of shame, because people often blame themselves. When it starts with a child for example, and they don’t know what is happening is wrong, they agree to it and don’t put up any resistance. It is only when they get older they realise something is wrong and they blame themselves. Threats may also be made to them by the perpetrator at the time. The person affected also fears not being believed by people they love and losing the trust of other family members.
“This is a heartbreaking situation for anyone to be in and we would like to reassure anyone that wants to speak to us about a sexual assault, the decision on whether to go ahead with a prosecution is entirely with you. We are here to give the advice you need in order to make your mind up. We never pressurise anyone.”
He added: “Often something in the person’s life changes and this makes them report an historic sexual assault. They may have a child themselves that has contact with the same individual and they want to protect the child or have a fear of it happening to someone else.”
In this case, Wells pleaded not guilty and a trial took place at which the victim felt able to give evidence. However there are processes where special measures can be put in place for example giving evidence by television link so the victim does not have to go into court, or giving evidence behind screens, to make the whole process a little easier.
PSI Herring, who conducted the investigation alongside DC Susan Timmins, added: “These offences occurred some 30 years ago and once again Warwickshire Police would like to acknowledge the courage it took for this woman to come forward to report the abuse and take this opportunity to encourage others to talk to us if they have been sexually assaulted, even if only to seek advice in the first instance.
“This is one of several cases over the last three or four years where offenders who have committed offences many years ago are now serving significant custodial prison sentences.
“It is also hoped that this sends out a message to those who choose to commit this type of offence that no matter how long ago it happened any complaint will be fully investigated.”
Wells will be managed under multi-agency public protection arrangements upon his eventual release from prison, as a registered sexual offender.