A CHILD abuser has been brought to justice 16 years after he raped a 10-year-old Leeds girl.
Jason Hedley, 39, was sentenced to 14 years in prison yesterday for raping and indecently assaulting the girl.
Jurors heard how he had preyed on the young victim at a house in Leeds.
Leeds Crown Court heard Hedley went on to commit a further sexual offence against another young victim in 2005 because the rape and assault went unreported for over a decade.
Hedley was eventually arrested for the earlier offences after the victim found the courage two years ago to report what had happened to her.
Hedley, of New York Road, Leeds, was found guilty of rape and indecent assault after a trial.
The court heard how the young woman’s life had been blighted by “anxiety and emotional distress” as a result of Hedley’s offending against her.
A judge told Hedley that the victim had been vulnerable at the time he targeted her and there was an element of grooming in his offending.
Hedley was given a suspended sentence in 2005 for a sexual offence against a different girl.
Judge Rodney Jameson, QC, told Hedley he would not have been dealt with so leniently at the time had the court been aware of the rape offence. Hedley was also told he must go on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Tim Jacobs, mitigating, said Hedley accepted that he must receive a lengthy prison sentence.
He added: “For a period of ten years or so he has kept away from this type of offending.”
After the case, the victim’s step-father said she was pleased with the sentence given.
He said: “These kind of historic abuse cases are often difficult to prove in court and it takes a brave individual to come forward and report it.
“We hope this conviction and sentence will encourage other people who have been subjected to abuse to come forward.”