A TEENAGE rapist who systematically abused his young victim more than 25 years ago has been jailed for six years.
At Exeter Crown Court, Ian Gilroy, 44, formerly of Braunton, was found guilty by a jury of five charges of rape, one of indecent assault and one of another serious sex offence.
During the trial the jury heard the abuse took place over a four-and-a-half year period between 1978 and 1982 at a farm near Braunton.
For many years the victim, who was aged between 11 and nearly 16 at the time, grappled with the trauma and psychological effect the abuse had on her.
Finally, after counselling she felt strong enough to make a complaint against Gilroy.
Prosecutor Andrew Oldland said Gilroy had been shielded by his mother who said the victim was promiscuous and had a “vivid imagination”.
She had managed to sweep the allegations under the carpet, but her death a few years ago had helped the victim to feel able to complain.
The jury heard the rapes and sexual abuse happened so often that one incident “blurred into the next”, and it became part of her life.
The defendant refuted the claims made by the victim and said she had concocted her allegations against him.
Gilroy. who now lives out of the county, had pleaded not guilty to all seven charges against him.
Passing sentence Judge Graham Cottle said he took into account the historic nature of the offences and the defendant’s age at the time. He said had it not been for those factors the sentence would have been longer.
The judge said Gilroy had subjected his victim to a prolonged and terrifying ordeal which had a lasting effect on her.
In addition to the prison term Gilroy was ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register.