A Peterborough man who drugged and raped a young child has been locked up for nearly 20 years.
James McClennon, (62), of Manor Close, Wittering was jailed for 17 years today (Wednesday) after he was found guilty of two counts of raping a child under 13 and three counts of indecent assault on a girl under 14.
The court heard how it took McClennon’s victim 13 years to build up the courage to report the incidents to police after he convinced her that no one would believe her and told her it was ‘their secret’.
The abuse began in 1997 in Peterborough and continued for about two years while the victim was aged between 10 and 12. On two occasions McClennon used sleeping pills to drug his victim before abusing her.
McClennon had denied the charges, but was found guilty after a trial.
Detective Constable Lisa Winterburn praised the victim's courage, and said: “The victim was very brave in coming forward to the police. Regardless of the passage of time, we will always take reports of child sex abuse very seriously.”
An NSPCC spokesperson for the East of England said: “The depraved abuse that McClennon inflicted on a young girl is nothing short of sickening and these sorts of crimes can cause unimaginable suffering and struggles that last into adulthood.
“Despite his manipulation and intimidation, his victim showed incredible courage to report her abuser and help put him in prison when he’d probably thought he’d long got away with his crimes.
“Rape and child sexual abuse is never the fault of the victim and it’s vital that survivors know they will be listened to and supported when they speak out.
“We also need to empower children to recognise and report abuse from an early age to protect young people and ensure victims get the support they need.”
Adult survivors of abuse can get help and support via the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children can contact Childline anytime on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk
Information and advice, including how to report recent and historical sexual abuse is available online. If you are worried about a child, call police on 101, or if you think a child is at immediate risk of abuse call 999.