A man who sexually assaulted and repeatedly raped a child from the age of 11 until she was a young adult has been jailed for 24 years.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Leonard Wood, 67, of Litherland, first sexually assaulted the victim when she was 11.
The abuse continued on a regular basis over a period of 10 years. He raped her at least 36 times including, on at least one occasion, when she was under 13 years old and the last time when she was a young woman.
She found the courage to report him initially in 2017 and then again in 2019 when she was ready to give her account and Wood was arrested.
He was convicted after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court of 9 counts of Rape, three counts of indecent assault and two counts of making indecent photographs of a child and on 28 February 2022, he was sentenced to 24 years in prison and one year on extended licence.
The Crown Prosecution Service also successfully applied to the court for a sexual harm prevention order and a restraining order to be put in place to prevent Wood from contacting the victim in any way and to protect other children from harm.
In a Victim Personal Statement to the court, the victim said, “I am so glad I had the courage to tell what happened to me. I feel that a weight has been taken from me.
“I have good support now around me from my current partner. I feel like I can finally start to live my life now that this is being dealt with. Yes I have a lot to overcome but I have made efforts to progress my life. I feel that my life is starting now – a life that I should have had for a long time.”
District Crown Prosecutor Mandy Nepal, a manager in CPS Mersey-Cheshire’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) unit, said, “This man subjected his victim to repeated sexual assaults and rape on a weekly basis. The abuse continued into the victim’s adulthood.
“She found the courage to report what had happened to her but was initially unable to face the process of a prosecution. With key support, she reengaged with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service a couple of years later and her abuser is now behind bars for a long time.
“We worked with the victim to help her so that she felt supported to give her best evidence and to stay on board to see her abuser brought to justice.
“Rape is a devastating crime which can have a lasting impact on not only the victim but their families and the wider community. The CPS understands that people react differently to the trauma of a serious sexual assault, some may report it immediately and others may need time before they feel able to come forward.
“But time should be no barrier to a prosecution in such offences. The CPS hopes that this case shows that we will listen and offer the right support to victims.”