January 2022

Paedophile gets 14 year jail sentence after sex with girl aged 12

A paedophile who began raping and sexually abusing a girl from the age of 12 has been jailed for 14 years.

Child molester Lance Hirst received the sentence from Judge Nicolas Cartwright at Worcester Crown Court on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old of Doverdale Close, Redditch admitted a string of sexual offences including the two most serious – rape of a child under the age of 13.

One of the rape counts on the indictment specified that he had raped her at least five times.

The court heard that Hirst had also requested sexual videos of the girl and had other indecent images of children on his devices which were seized.

The girl’s DNA was also found on sex toys found in the glove box of Hirst’s car which provided further evidence against him. The abuse began in 2018 and continued into 2020.

Hirst was arrested in May 2020 and mobile phones were seized which contained indecent images of children at category A (the worst kind), B and C including still and moving images.

Indecent images of the victim were also found on Hirst’s mobile phone while the search history also revealed his interest in indecent images of children and bestiality.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright told Hirst, sentenced over videolink from prison, that the most serious offences were those of the rapes but that the other offences including assaults ‘covered different forms of sexual behaviour towards the same complainant’.

“It’s clear she had a child’s infatuation with you. You were 26 and she was just 12 when you started to rape her” said the judge.

The abuse began at the time of her 12th birthday and ‘you continued to regularly rape her when she was under the age of 13 and over the course of the following calendar year’.

He said it was an aggravating feature that the abuse had taken place in the presence of another child.

“Although she was so young she was ostensibly consenting to what took place. Of course, by now she had been totally corrupted by you” said the judge.

“You had groomed her to the extent she was compliant with what was going on,” he said.

In sentencing, the judge took into account the psychological impact of the abuse based on her victim personal statement. “She has social anxiety and has developed an eating disorder” he said.

Her school work and social life had also suffered, confirmed by another statement by her grandmother.

“She suffers outbreaks of anger. She suffers regular, even constant nightmares and flashbacks during her waking hours” he said.

Judge Cartwright also considered it aggravating that the offences ‘took place over such a protracted period of time’. No other mitigation was considered relevant other than his guilty pleas.

The court heard that Hirst answered no comment in his police interviews and denied that any offences had taken place, telling officers ‘the allegations are false’. Although Hirst had no relevant previous convictions, the judge added: “You could hardly be described as a man of impeccable previous character.”

He made no discount for Covid-19 – judges are asked to consider the case of Manning by the Court of Appeal – to reflect the more onerous prison regime during a pandemic. This decision was, in part, because Hirst continued to offend against the victim during the first lockdown in March 2020.

In total judge Cartwright jailed him for 13 years, adding an extra one year’s licence to make a 14 year sentence.

As an offender of particular concern under section 278 of the Sentencing Act 2020, Hirst must serve at least two thirds of the custodial term of his sentence before he is even considered for release by the Parole Board.

A sexual harm prevention order was also made which will restrict Hirst’s contact with children and his access to and use of the internet, including social media, for the rest of his life.

Other restrictions, including the notification requirements and registration provisions of the sex offender register will also apply for the remainder of his life.

Any devices containing indecent images of children the judge ordered to be destroyed.