April 2022

Mansfield paedophile ruined victim’s childhood and left her paralysed by fear

A Mansfield paedophile who sexually abused a primary school aged girl and ruined her childhood, left her paralysed by fear and haunted by hallucinations afterwards has been jailed

Sarel Van Der Merwe, aged 41, of Carter Lane, Mansfield, pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13, and two charges of causing a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Van Der Merwe told police the abuse happened on three occasions, prosecutor Ian West said, shortly after his victim told her teacher she had been abused.

Nottingham Crown Court was told on Wednesday how he kissed and sucked her breasts, touched her vagina and got her to masturbate him to ejaculation.

In a statement, the victim’s mother said ‘unexpected things can trigger flashbacks’ and described her daughter ‘seeing him as a black figure in crowded places.’

On one occasion the girl cried out: “It’s there, it’s there – it’s coming for me.”

She said her daughter’s ‘fear was so strong she was paralysed’. And because she kept seeing black figures in the mirror, ‘we have had to take down all the mirrors in the house.’

The court heard Van Der Merwe’s victim has since tried to harm herself and once ‘locked herself in the bathroom with a knife.’

udge Gregory Dickinson QC, the Recorder of Nottingham, told him: “This is serious sexual abuse. You used her as a sexual plaything.

“It has ruined her childhood. In some ways this will stay with her to the end of her life.”

He jailed Van de Merwe for four years and eight months and imposed a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.