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Former Accrington police officer guilty of child sex abuse
9:00am Saturday 19th October 2013 in Hyndburn
A RETIRED police sergeant has been found guilty of inflicting ‘appalling’ sexual and physical child abuse on two victims.
Jeffrey Lake, 78, was extradited from his home in Queensland, Australia, to stand trial on the historic offences - the vast majority of which were committed when he was a serving police officer in Accrington and Liverpool.
The defendant emigrated in 2002 and had been living there for seven years when one of the complainants walked into a police station in Lancashire and said Lake had sexually and physically abused her as a child.
The woman was interviewed at length and when the investigation widened a second person claimed he too had been abused by the defendant, Preston Crown Court was told.
She said that Lake moved from the UK to avoid his past after she had previously written letters to him describing the agony he had put her through.
Lake, who has family connections in Australia, said that was not true and he was simply looking for a better life.
He was arrested in January and brought to the UK.
Yesterday, he was found guilty of 20 allegations of historic abuse including rape, buggery, indecency with a child, indecent assault and child cruelty, said to have taken place in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Lake had served in the police in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.
Opening the case, prosecutor Louise Whaites said the female victim went on to suffer from depression and anxiety and had attempted suicide - as had the male victim in the case.
"She was clearly unable to cope with what happened to her," she said.
In the mid-1970s she wrote to the defendant and told him how she felt about what he had done to her, the jury was told.
She received no response or acknowledgement from Lake.
Following his emigration, she wrote more letters to him in which she said she was concerned that he had not changed and would go on to commit similar offences.
She said her death ‘wouldn't bring matters to a close for him’ because she had told her GP, her husband and also her children about the abuse.
Lake claimed he had never received any of the letters she said she had sent.
In December 2009, she finally made a complaint to the police.
Giving evidence, Lake denied all the charges against him and said he was ‘not of the persuasion’ of someone who sexually abuses children.
Lake, of Peregian Springs, had no previous convictions.
He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on October 24.