When a girl complained in a letter to a social worker that she had been sexually abused by a Rugby man, her allegation was ‘regarded with scepticism’ by the police and Social Services.
It was only some time later that her complaint against Alan Phillips was taken seriously and he was finally arrested and charged, a jury at Warwick Crown Court has heard.
Phillips was jailed for 14 years after he was found guilty of two charges of assaulting that girl and two of sexually assaulting a second girl.
And because the judge found him to be ‘an offender of particular concern,’ he will only be freed after serving half his sentence if the Parole Board considers it safe to do so.
Phillips (51) of the Lodge Farm caravan site in Bilton Lane will be released on licence at some point between then and serving the whole of the sentence, and will then be on licence for a further year on top of that.
During the trial prosecutor Stefan Kolodynski told the jury: “The broad overview is that two people were sexually abused when they were young girls by Alan Phillips.”
One of the girls had told a social worker she wanted to say something but could not talk about it out loud, so would write it in a letter, which she did.
“That triggered an investigation, but the letter was regarded with scepticism by the police and Social Services.
“Alan Phillips was spoken to and denied any wrong-doing, and they concluded she was not telling the truth.
“When she was later spoken to by the police about the letter she effectively clammed up, so the investigation ended there,” said Mr Kolodynski.
But in 2014 she found the courage to open up to the police and told them what had happened when she was about 12.
She said she was sitting on the sofa at Phillips’s home when he sat next to her and sexually abused her.
The girl also disclosed he had sexually abused her in a similar way when she was older, and that he had threatened her not to tell anyone.
This time the police took her seriously, and as a result of speaking to other children who had come into contact with Phillips, another girl revealed two incidents when he had also sexually abused her.
On one occasion when she and her family were at his home, when she was about ten, he touched her inappropriately, which Mr Kolodynski said was him ‘testing the water.’
Then when she was 14 he had sat next to her on a sofa as she was watching television and touched her inappropriately.
Phillips denied the offences, claiming the first girl had been encouraged by others to make up allegations against him, and that the other girl’s accusations were also false.
The court heard that shortly before his trial Phillips had been remanded in custody for witness intimidation, which he admitted, after he had contacted one of his victims.
His barrister Peter Cooper said: “He has borne deep personal sadness during this trial. Having been arrested and remanded in custody, his mother died, and he was not allowed to attend her funeral."
And he said the offences had taken place ‘at a time when there was stress in the lives of him and his partner.’
Jailing Phillips, and ordering him to register as a sex offender for life, Judge Hancox told him: “The jury found you guilty of four of the six counts you faced.
“You are a man who waited carefully for the opportunities to arise, and when they did, whatever risks there were of being seen, you acted in the way you did to satisfy your desires.
“The impact of your offending on both of them has been devastating,” said the judge, who observed that one of the girls had earlier been abused by another man.
Anyone affected by rape and sexual abuse can contact Supportline on 0808 168 9111.
You can dial 141 to hide your number, but check with your network provider as this doesn’t work on some mobile networks.
Victim Support states: "The service is confidential, free and available to anyone who's been raped or sexually assaulted, now or in the past.
"We can help, regardless of whether you have told the police or anyone else about the attack.
"Volunteers can visit you at home (if you want us to, and if doing so will not put you at further risk) or somewhere else if you prefer.
"If you don't want to see anyone face-to-face, you can also talk to us on the phone, either at one of our local offices or at the national Victim Supportline."
For more information, click here.