Lying Devon child abuser jailed for “wicked” crime
A 66-year-old Cullompton man has been jailed for raping a 12-year-old child
Keith Barons, a retired housing association manager, gave the girl alcohol before subjecting her to a terrifying ordeal.
He was aged in his early 40s at the time and the child 12 years old, Exeter Crown Court was told. She lived with the trauma of what he did to her for years before going to the police in 2019.
When questioned Barons denied doing anything wrong and claimed she was making up the story. But just before the case was due to go to trial he confessed and now says he is ashamed and sorry for what he did.
The judge said the actions of the former Sanctuary Housing manager had been “wicked” and that he had repeatedly lied when confronted with the truth.
Recorder Don Tait also praised the courage of the victim who read a statement in court describing the psychological price she has had to pay.
“What you did to that young girl has had an awful effect on her life,” he told the defendant. “She had the courage to read her own victim statement and what a huge amount of courage that must have taken for her. When she told you she would never forgive you she looked you in the eye.”
Barons, of Court Drive admitted rape of a child and indecent assault and was jailed for 13 years.
Prosecutor Miss Heather Hope said the rape happened after he gave the girl vodka. She could remember feeling “groggy” and freezing in terror while Barons undressed and raped her. On another occasion Barons groped the child by touching her breast.
In her statement the victim said not a day had past since where thoughts of what happened resurfaced. When she did go to the police her “tortuous journey” was made worse by delays caused by his denials and the barristers strike.
Recorder Tait said Barons had denied and then tried to plea bargain his way out of responsibility. “You may express remorse now but for years you lied and lied. She was the one who had to suffer. She has had a long wait to see justice being done and I’m sorry the system let her down to that extent.
“No one listening to her personal statement could not be moved by it. In my experienced you are one of the bravest young women I’ve heard. You suffered for many many years for what this man did to you and finally had the courage to go to the police.
“Thank you for having the strength and courage to read your victim statement.”
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