Man who raped teen is jailed

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A Leigh man who repeatedly raped a young girl has been caged indefinitely.

A Leigh man who repeatedly raped a young girl has been caged indefinitely.

Judge David Harris, QC, told 34-year-old Stephen Fletcher that he had a "deviant" sexual interest in pre-pubescent girls, had groomed the youngster and left her psychologically and emotionally harmed after the abuse which spanned a two year period.

He ordered that he must serve at least five years behind bars before he can apply to the Parole Board but warned him that he will not be released until he is no longer considered a risk to the public.

The judge imposed an indeterminate sentence for public protection and ordered him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life. He also made a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Lisa Judge, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that the offences took place when the girl was aged about nine and ten and as well as sexually abusing her he also raped her.

On some occasions he used his mobile phone to take images of him abusing her and when police raided his home they also found he had images of young girls he had downloaded from the internet.

The offences came to light last year when she confided in school friends and the police were alerted.

Fletcher, whose address cannot be given for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to two specimen offences of rape, two sexual assaults, four inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and three of possessing indecent photographs. He had another offence of possessing indecent images taken into consideration.

Paul Becker, defending, said that Fletcher, who has no previous convictions, had pleaded guilty at an early stage and has spent many months in custody awaiting sentence.

After the hearing Det Con Paolo Dale, based at the Child Protection Unit in Wigan, said: "Fletcher's crimes are nothing short of disgusting. To rape a young girl and take pictures of her shows that he has utter disregard for the feelings of his victim, who will carry around the emotional scars for the rest of her life.

"My personal thanks goes out to the victim who has shown particular strength and courage in reporting these crimes and in cooperating with this investigation.

"I hope she can now begin the process of putting these incidents behind her and resuming some sense of normality in her life.

"Greater Manchester Police takes all reports of rape and sexual abuse very seriously, and it is satisfying to see that Fletcher has been brought to justice for his crimes."

Anyone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault can contact Greater Manchester Police on 0161 872 5050 or 999 in an emergency. GMP has specially trained officers in place to provide a first class response to victims and help support them through the criminal justice process.

St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester, can also be contacted on 0161 276 6515. This provides a comprehensive and coordinated forensic, counselling and medical aftercare service to anyone in Greater Manchester who has experienced rape or sexual assault. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and people can access them either as a self-referral or via Greater Manchester Police.