AN Alresford man has been jailed for 15 years for tying down and raping a girl in one of a string of serious sexual attacks on her.
Yet when his victim rounded on Peter Burns, telling him he was a monster, he said he didn’t care, a court heard.
A Winchester Crown Court jury heard how the 47-year-old assaulted his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in a number of locations in the town including in his car and a shed.
Burns, formerly of Windsor Road, Alresford, was convicted by a majority of 11-1 for two counts of rape and a sexual assault, 10-2 on another count of rape and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He was cleared of three sexual assault charges.
Judge Keith Cutler, Recorder of Winchester, said he would be on the sex offenders register for life.
Sentencing, the judge said: “You were able to target her and develop your sexual interest in her. You enjoyed the power that gave you. You did not have any concerns about what that was doing to her; she was just an object of your lust.
“She was trapped. She contemplated suicide and self-harm, didn’t know where to turn but felt she had to go along with what you wanted.”
Summing up Judge Cutler read out the victim's evidence, part off which had been presented via video.
"I felt powerless, there has nothing I could do," she had said. "I'd close my eyes and pretend I was somewhere else. He told me if I was loud he'd make it hurt. He told me if I didn't go along with it he'd make it painful. It would bring me to the brink of insanity and back. It felt like it was never going to end. He said I wasn't allowed to say no. It was a dangerous secret. It was just something I'd grown to live with. I did not flirt with him and allow a relationship to develop. I did not freely agree; he wanted it to happen so it would happen."
Burns claimed the sex had been consensual and had only occurred after she had turned 16.
He said: "I did not threaten her or tie her up. I regret the affair. We both said it shouldn't happen but it did happen."
Giving evidence, the youngster said that she had wept throughout Burns’ attacks, which had left her depressed and suicidal.
“I was scared, I didn’t want to sleep at night. It would drive me to the brink on insanity.”
Of the last occasion when he shackled her, she said: “I said he was a monster. I cried, I told him to stop. I said I hated him.”
But prosecuting counsel Stephen Parish said that Burns hadn’t cared when he was branded a monster: “He (Burns) said ‘it didn’t matter, you can hate me as much as you like’,” he added.
Dismissing the assertion that the sex had been consensual as “absolute fantasy”, Mr Parish said: “Why on earth would she be interested in him? I don’t want to be offensive but you might think that the defendant doesn’t come over as God’s gift to women.”
Defence counsel Marie Spenwyn summed up: “We’re not here to judge how people look, we’re here to judge whether or not this happened.
“When you distil it down I suggest it’s the word of one person against the other.
“I would ask you to consider that alarm bells must be ringing about the lack of other evidence.”
The court heard that Burns has previous convictions for burglary, theft and selling false charity lottery tickets.
Ms Spenwyn said she was unable to forward any strong arguments for mitigation.
“It’s very difficult for me to put forward any mitigating factors,” she said. “There have been no other concerns raised about any other potential victims.”
After the hearing Detective Constable Tim McSpadden said: "We have worked closely with the victim to support her throughout this case and the trial itself. I would like to thank her for demonstrating such bravery in coming forward to report these offences and for her continued courage throughout.
"I am pleased that this case has now come to a close and that justice has been served. I hope that the victim and her family can now begin to move forward with their lives."