April 2003


A HELSBY man who enticed a 15-year-old girl to his flat before plying her with drink and raping her has been sentenced to nine and a half years in prison.

Derek Rathbone, 53, of Mountain View raped the girl last year while living in Farnworth, Widnes.

When giving her evidence via video link, the traumatised youngster had barely been able to get the words out.

Rathbone also indecently assaulted a girl five times when she was aged under 15, while living in Farnworth and Hough Green, also in Widnes, between 1987 and 1995.

Wearing tinted glasses and walking with the aid of a crutch, Rathbone was sentenced at Warrington Crown Court last Thursday.

Mr Justice Hale told him: “You have been convicted of the rape of a 15-year-old girl, who was one of a number of girls you enticed back to your flat.

“She was the one where you gave into the temptation to rape, having been giving her drink before the offence occurred.

“It was obviously a traumatic incident for her and the trauma was apparent by the way she gave her evidence.

“You were also convicted of serious indecent assaults against another girl, using one of the most serious forms, simulated intercourse.”

Rathbone was found guilty of these offences by a jury at an earlier hearing. He was also found not guilty of 11 other offences.

Mr John Eaton, defending, said Rathbone had not used any weapons in his crimes.

Mr Justice Hale sentenced Rathbone to seven years for the rape and a further two and a half years for the indecent assaults.

He added that Rathbone would have to sign the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.