A paedophile pensioner convicted of raping a young child has been jailed for 14 years following a trial at Lincoln Crown Court.
Former Brookenby Parish Council chairman, Clifton, 71, of South Reston, near Louth, denied charges of rape, sexual assault, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, making an indecent photograph of a child and taking an indecent photograph but was convicted on all counts.
His sentencing was delayed after he fell ill earlier this month and was detained in intensive care in hospital for what is thought to have been pneumonia. He was arrested on his release and remanded in custody to await his sentence.
During the trial the jury heard Clifton committed offences against the child and then warned the youngster it - and its mother - would die if anything was revealed about what happened.
But the child immediately told the mother and Clifton was arrested back in October 2010.
The victim, who suffered from extreme trauma as a result of being attacked by Clifton, did not make any formal witness statement. Instead the prosecution was heavily based on circumstantial and “hearsay” evidence as well as evidence and indecent photographs of the victim found on Clifton’s computer.
Recorder Gareth Evans QC, passing sentence, told Clifton “You have been convicted on what I believe was overwhelming evidence. It is quite clear that you had no answer to an awful lot of the prosecution case against you.
“You threatened the child. That was a dreadful thing to do.”
A court order was imposed preventing reporting of both the gender and age of the child as well as detail of where the offences occurred.
Timothy Spencer, QC, defending, said Clifton suffers from serious health problems and is likely to die in prison.
“The prospect of him coming out of prison before he dies is limited. The day he was released from hospital was his last day on this earth at liberty.”
He said Clifton has financial problems and his home was repossessed for failing to keep up with mortgage payments. The pensioner now faces bankruptcy.
In a statement the victim’s family said: “We are satisfied with the sentence imposed on Clifton today. His conviction after a lengthy investigation and trial gives us as parents relief that our child was supported by the police and the criminal justice system as a whole. This has been every parent’s worst nightmare but we now hope to put it behind us and move forward as a family”.