February 2022

Victim still wakes up crying after sick Sheffield paedophile abused her aged 5

A woman who was sexually abused by a paedophile from the age of five says he has “ravaged” her life as she still suffers from flashbacks.

The woman was targeted by evil Norman Copeland and abused over a period of six years.

Copeland, 53, from Sheffield, stood trial last month and was convicted by a jury of two counts of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 14, and two counts of gross indecency with a girl under 14.

Prosecutor Laura Marshall told a sentencing hearing at Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday that Copeland regularly touched the girl inappropriately from the age of five, and would force her to carry out sex acts.

During the hearing, Copeland listened to an emotional victim impact statement and poem written and read out by his victim, who bravely reported his crimes to police in 2019.

In her evidence, the woman told how the abuse had “ravaged” her life.

She said she had told her mother about what had happened when she was a teenager but did not want to report it to police at the time.

As the woman read out her evidence, Copeland, who appeared on a video link from HMP Doncaster, lay his head on a table.

She said: “I was petrified of coming forward to tell the police. I felt no one would understand me and people would look at me differently. I was so scared I would be punished for it.

“I was a young child who trusted someone. I knew it was wrong after it stopped. After having children, it’s been harder to ignore. I’ve been having flashbacks and I get angry.

“I think, ‘How could he have done that to me? How can a man think of such a small innocent child as a sexual being.'”

The woman said the abuse has “ravaged” her life and said she cries often and struggles to trust people around her own children.

She said: “I have been so embarrassed to go to court. I need to protect other children by speaking out. It has been difficult to speak out and tell my story after so many years. I felt so dirty and sinful and found myself crying and pushing my emotions away.

“He thought he could get away with it and it shows he is a liar and a coward. He could have told the truth. He is beyond help. I hope I get justice and I can move on from this nightmare.”

The woman then tearfully read out a poem to the court which said: “Memories should make us smile and want to stay for a while. Memories make me feel ashamed.”

Copeland was jailed for eight years by Judge Michael Slater who said there was “no doubt” his crimes “had serious and long-lasting effects” on his victim.

He told him: “You were homeless and addicted to drugs and in a position of trust which you severely abused.”

The judge made Copeland the subject of an extended licence period for one year. He will have to serve up to half of his sentence in custody before going up before the Parole Board who will decide if he is safe to be released.

He must also abide by the terms of his sexual harm prevention order and restraining order against the woman that were set out by the court.