July 2008

Nine-year-old’s diary leads to child abuse conviction

Abuse recorded in a child’s diary has led a former Warwick man to be jailed.

Stephen Rainbird, himself a father-of-five, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment when he appeared at Warwick Crown Court on Monday.

Rainbird, who lived at Wathen Road, Warwick at the time of the offences last year, had previously admitted five charges of sexual assault and two of more serious assault against one girl.

The 56-year-old, recently of Henrietta Street, Lozells, Birmingham, also admitted one charge of sexually assaulting a second girl.

Prosecutor John Butterfield said the offences against one of the girls, whose family also lives in Warwick, began when she was still only five years old.

Matters came to light after Rainbird had sexually abused a nine-year-old girl, also from Warwick.

She wrote about what had happened in her diary – which was found by her mother who contacted social services.

When police arrested Rainbird he admitted the offences against both girls, saying he did not know why he had done it and was ashamed.

In mitigation, Ashraf Khan said Rainbird had made extensive admissions, saving the girls from the pressure and worry of having to give evidence.

Mr Khan added: “He says today he is very sorry for his behaviour and appreciates the trauma these girls will go through as a result of what he has done.”

As well as being jailed, Rainbird was ordered to register as a sex offender for life and banned from undertaking any paid or unpaid activity with children.

Sentencing Rainbird, Judge Trevor Faber told him: “You are 56 years of age and you have never done anything like this before. But you have pleaded guilty to eight extremely serious offences of the abuse of young children.

“One cannot for certain know the extent of the damage you may have done to these young children by this abuse.

“The only real mitigation is that you pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity.”