An Eastbourne man has been given a 16-year sentence for sex offences against a small girl he knew in Polegate more than 17 years ago.
John Raymond Hooper, 71, of Upperton Gardens, Eastbourne was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday (October 30).
He was convicted on September 13 of raping and indecently assaulting the victim – who was under the age of 16 – more than 15 years ago, said police.
Eastbourne Police said the jury had come to unanimous verdicts of guilty after some seven hours of deliberation.
He was given concurrent custodial sentences of 12 years, plus a further four years to be served on extended release licence.
He will have to serve two-thirds of the 12 years before being eligible to be considered for early release.
He will also be a registered sex offender for life.
Detective Constable Jess Langlands of the East Sussex Safeguarding investigations Unit said, “It took great strength for the victim to come forward last year, even after all this time, she just felt she had to report to us for the first time the horrendous abuse she had suffered.
“Hooper came to know this vulnerable young girl through friends, and unbeknown to anyone else he systematically abused her in private for his own sexual gratification.
“Anyone who has concerns about sexual offending against children, whether as victim, family member, or with any other information, can contact us at any time online or by calling 101, and can arrange to talk in confidence to experienced investigators.”