'How could you defile a child?' - Former solider jailed for nearly a decade for historic sex abuse

Former soldier Charles Spear abused a girl from the age of six in the 1970s and left her with lifelong psychological traumas, which still include nightmares and flashbacks

An 86-year-old child abuser from Devon has been jailed for almost almost ten years for a string of sexual offences committed against a six-year-old girl in the 1970s.

Former soldier Charles Spear was living in Teignmouth and Dawlish when he sexually assaulted the girl, leaving her with lifelong psychological traumas - which still include nightmares and flashbacks. 

A judge at Exeter Crown Court told him he had "infected and warped" the girl’s entire life.

They progressed from touching the girl when she was six to having full sex with her when she was nine. 

He terrified the victim into staying silent for four decades and she waitied to go to the police until 2019.

The retired painter and decorator admitted what he had done but told detectives that the girl had "led him on".

Spear, of Lealands, Bovey Tracey, admitted four counts of indecent assault or indecency and two of sexual intercourse with a child and was jailed for nine years, four months with a one year extended licence by Judge David Evans. 

He told him: "Having heard the victim’s personal statement it is quite clear that your abuse has caused her severe psychological harm.

"She has experienced adversity over the years in many different forms. What you did has greatly infected and warped every aspect of her life.

"The probation report suggests you continue to hold perverted views about young children and their sexual responsibilities."

The victim read out her personal statement from the witness box and told how the abuse made her feel dirty as a child and has affected her schooling, relationships and ability to work. 

She asked Spear: "How could you defile a child? I was a happy little girl before you abused me.

"The old photos show me with a beaming smile. That was before the fear, before I thought I was nasty and smelly."

Mr William Parkhill, defending, said Spear has regretted his behaviour ever since and made full admissions when interviewed by the police.

He said Spear has no other convictions and has lived a blameless life before and since committing these offences.

He is now unwell, housebound, and relies on taxis to deliver his shopping. 

He said: "He knows this is likely to be a sentence which means he will not see liberty again."