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Blackburn pensioner who raped schoolgirl jailed
4:00pm Saturday 22nd September 2012 in News
A PENSIONER who raped a schoolgirl and also subjected her to a string of other sex attacks has been jailed for 12 years.
John Darbyshire, 76, was brought to justice 40 years after his crimes against the primary school girl.
She told the court the retired driver had stolen her childhood and damaged her adult life.
Yesterday police said they would pursue justice for victims no matter how long ago the crimes were committed.
Darbyshire, a father-of-two, of Abraham Street, Blackburn, was convicted by a jury of two charges of rape, four counts of indecent assault and two allegations of indecency with a child, after a two-week trial at Burnley Crown Court.
The incidents happened in Haslingden.
Darbyshire was cleared of seven other child sex allegations against another schoolgirl, also said to have taken place decades ago.
The jury took almost eight hours to reach its verdicts.
The defendant, who had denied the allegations against him, had claimed to the jury the charges against him were "definitely not true”.
The hearing was told the victim made a complaint to the police last May and Darbyshire was arrested three months later.
Louise Whaites, prosecuting, said of the victim: "As a child, she was really unable to comprehend what was happening was wrong.
“She never told anybody about it. He told her she must not tell."
The court heard she had been sparked into contacting the police after looking at old photographs of herself.
Miss Whaites said one of the pictures had been of the victim when she was a four- year-old bridesmaid.
The woman told police that it had been almost like she was looking at the child as it she was a third party.
Miss Whaites said the victim then realised what had taken place when she was a girl was not her fault.
The prosecutor said the victim did not speak of what had gone on until she was a grown woman and she told her mother and a church deacon.
Miss Whaites continued: "It was clear she was struggling to cope with what happened to her in the past and blamed, quite perversely, herself."
Sentencing, Recorder Paul Reid, QC, said it was sometimes possible to show a limited degree of mercy when a defendant was advanced in years and he intended to do so.
The judge told Darbyshire: "It’s plain to me from what I have seen and what I have heard that the victim has suffered considerable psychological damage.
“Her life and her relationships have been blighted by what you did to her."
Recorder Reid said in her personal statement, the victim had said: "I still wake up at night because I think about it. Not only did he steal my childhood, he damaged my adult life."
The judge told Darbyshire, who he ordered to sign the sex offenders ' register for life: " I don't regard you now, and certainly not at the end of the prison sentence you must serve, as being a risk to society."
DCI Sion Hall said: “The fact that these crimes were committed 40 years ago does not mean that we consider them any less seriously. We will always strive to bring criminals to justice no matter when offences were carried out.”
Speaking after the case, one of Darbyshire’s neighbours said she was extremely shocked to hear about his crimes.
She said “He was a very nice bloke and I would never have thought that he would have done anything like that.”