A man who raped and sexually abused a young girl in Lancashire has been jailed for 20 years.

John Ryan, 75, subjected his young victim to abuse over a number of years from when she was just six years old.

Most of the offences were carried out in Blackpool.

Ryan, formerly of Blackpool but originally from Tamworth in the West Midlands, denied offences of rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault and cause to incite a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

He was found guilty after a trial.

The total sentences handed down at Preston Court for all the offences for which he was convicted amounted to almost 70 years, but will be served concurrently, and so was jailed for 20 years.

Det Insp Andrew Crook, of Lancashire’s Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “First and foremost I would like to commend Ryan’s victim for having the courage to speak up about what she has been through, that cannot have been easy, and I greatly admire her bravery.

“John Ryan subjected this young girl to shocking abuse over a number of years in order to satisfy his own depraved sexual desires and I welcome these significant sentences which reflect the gravity of his offending.

“I hope the sentences handed down by the court give others who may have suffered similar abuse the courage to come forward and report it to police safe in the knowledge that we will investigate professionally and with sensitivity, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.”