A PENSIONER has been jailed for six years after admitting to sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl in Overton.

Robert Banning, 77, appeared at Winchester Crown Court today where he was sentenced for sex offences.

The court heard how between July 2018 and February this year Banning entered into sexual activity with the victim who was 15 at the time.

The incident was reported to the police after the victim had disclosed the information to a relative who then subsequently told the police.

Banning admitted four counts of sexual activity with a child, one charge of causing or inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity and two counts of making indecent images of children.

The court heard how the prosecution had read more than 600 pages of text messages between the girl and Banning which included threats made by the defendant.

Following the court hearing, Detective Constable Steven Finnis said: “This offending against a teenage girl took place over a prolonged period of time.

“I would like to praise the victim for the bravery and courage she has shown in coming forward to report what had happened. I hope this sentence means she can start to move forward with her life.

“The victim was supported by our specially trained officers from the Amberstone team throughout this investigation.

“I would like to reassure anyone else that has been a victim of a sexual offence that we will listen and support you, and work hard to bring offenders to justice.”

Banning was sentenced to six years in jail, he was also given a lifetime sexual harm prevention order and a lifetime restraining order.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “The victim’s immense bravery in speaking out has helped put this vile predator behind bars – and has shown that survivors of abuse will be listened to when they come forward.

“Child sexual abuse causes profound pain and trauma that can last through adulthood, and we hope she continues to receive all the support she needs.

“We are all responsible for the safety and wellbeing of children - if you’re concerned about a child please contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk.”