Leeds sex fiend had abused girl since she was 7

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A pensioner aged 73 has been jailed for historic sex offences after a judge heard he began abusing his victim when she was only seven during visits to his home.

Jailing Rodney Thornton for 14 years and four months, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said he had committed the offences for his “own perverted sexual gratification.”

“It is perfectly apparent you have ruined your victim’s life,” the judge told him.

“She has carried this all these years and will continue to carry it throughout the rest of her life.

“You did not stop of your own volition, it only stopped because she ceased to visit.”

Thornton of Lea Farm Road, Leeds, admitted 14 charges of indecent assault and two of attempted rape.

Joseph Spencer, prosecuting, said the offences would happen when the girl visited Thornton at his home.

She remembered he was working away in Saudi Arabia and would come home for two to three weeks at a time.

“She said it started off as a game of I-spy, then some cuddles before he would put his hand up her clothes and start groping her,” Mr Spencer told the court.

The offences became more serious in spite of her telling him she did not want what he was doing, but he told her he loved her. When she was 11, she stopped visiting him.

The court heard the girl regularly had nightmares and flashbacks but said after the abuse was reported to the police, she finally felt as though she was fighting back.

Tim Jacobs, representing Thornton, said he had saved the girl the ordeal of giving evidence in court by his guilty pleas.

“He has committed horrible offences and knows that, and for many months now has known what will follow is a lengthy prison sentence.”

He said Thornton was in poor health and prison would be very difficult for him.

GARETH THOMAS   Photo Andy Paradise

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