Retired Accrington policeman Jeffrey Lake who fled to Australia jailed for 18 years for "appalling" child sex offences (From Blackburn Citizen)
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Retired Accrington policeman Jeffrey Lake who fled to Australia jailed for 18 years for "appalling" child sex offences
6:00pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in Hyndburn
A RETIRED police sergeant who was extradited from Australia and convicted of child sex abuse committed in north-west England has been jailed for 18 years.
Jeffrey Lake, 78, was arrested at his home in Queensland to stand trial on the historic offences - the vast majority of which were committed when he was a serving police officer in Accrington, Lancashire, and Liverpool.
The defendant emigrated in 2002 and had been living there for seven years when one of his two victims 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 man came forward and said he too had been abused by the defendant, Preston Crown Court was told.
He was arrested in Peregian Springs earlier this year and brought to the UK where he denied the allegations against him, said to have taken place in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Last week a jury unanimously found him guilty of 20 charges of historic abuse including rape, buggery, indecency with a child, indecent assault and child cruelty.
Sentencing him, Mr Justice King said each offence was a "serious example" of sexual and physical abuse which was committed in a sustained way.
Each of the two complainants had been deprived of achieving their full potential in adulthood as a consequence, he added.
The judge continued: "Each has suffered from deep depression over the years. Each has felt suicidal and attempted suicide.
"I have no doubt that the major cause of all their lifelong problems is the abuse each suffered at your hands."
He observed that Lake had shown "no contrition" and "no remorse" for the "deep and long-lasting" effects he had caused.
Lake was sentenced to 18 years in jail for the rape of the female complainant when she was a child.
He received concurrent sentences of the same length for two other counts of rape and received concurrent terms of between 18 months and 13 years for the remaining offences.
Both complainants gave victim impact statements which were partly read out in court.
The female victim said Lake had enjoyed making her terrified of him and as a result she had not become the person she ought to have been.
"I feel I have wasted my life," she said. "I have never achieved my true potential and I never will. I am so angry."
The male victim said he had less confidence because of the abuse inflicted.
As an intelligent man, he should have gone to university but did not, and his adult relationships have been "virtually non-existent" because of his fear of anyone getting too close to him emotionally.
He said he thought Lake would not be happy in custody but added: "He will be happy that two lives will be ruined as a result of what he has done."
Mitigating, Matthew Lawson asked for his client's age and his ongoing problems with diabetes to be taken into account in fixing the jail term.
A lengthy sentence would mean it was likely he would die in prison, he argued.
Mr Justice King told the court that the 18-year term would have been "justifiably longer" if Lake had been younger.
He took into account that he was a man of previous good character and had an unblemished record in the police force.
Lake was also disqualified from working with children and cannot have any unsupervised contact with children except with the permission of a youngster's parent or guardian and the express approval of social services in the area.
Opening the case, prosecutor Louise Whaites said the female victim went on to suffer from depression and anxiety from the "quite appalling" abuse she suffered at his hands.
"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.
The judge said Lake had chosen to stay silent when receiving the letters and "undoubtedly called her bluff" when she threatened to disclose matters.
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.
He said he had never thought of returning to Britain since his move because he had no reason to do so and because of the expense of travelling.
Lake claimed illness prevented him flying over for his son's wedding.
It was suggested that his accusers had a personal hostility towards him which led them to give false evidence to the court.
Under cross-examination, the female victim denied the abuse was a figment of her imagination gleaned from reading books such as Dave Pelzer's A Child Called It.
She denied that the book, which details the physical abuse of a child by his mother, had influenced her in any way to believe she had been abused herself.
Following sentencing, Detective Inspector Bobbi Holbrook said: "These were despicable offences committed against two young children, made all the more sinister by Lake's insistence of innocence and his attempts to persuade the jury his victims had invented the abuse. This considerable custodial sentence reflects the depravity of what he has done.
"I would like to pay tribute to the bravery of the victims and to the hard work of the investigative team and our partners at the Crown Prosecution Service for bringing the case to court and securing this conviction.
"Lancashire Constabulary will always take allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously, and we will always hunt offenders like Lake down, no matter how long ago the abuse or how far across the world we need to travel to bring them to justice."
Emma Kehoe, Crown Advocate for CPS North West, said: "Jeffrey Lake has today been sentenced for the horrific sexual and physical abuse of two victims over a prolonged period of time. The abuse that he inflicted on them is difficult to comprehend.
"These crimes began more than 50 years ago and they have had a devastating impact ever since on the lives of the victims. The CPS takes all cases of sexual abuse extremely seriously, no matter when the offences happened. We extradited Jeffrey Lake from Australia to ensure that he faced these charges.
"This case demonstrates that the passage of time is not a barrier to justice and we work hard to build strong cases by linking all the evidence we have available. We also work closely with the police and the courts to ensure that victims of sexual abuse are provided with the best possible support.
"I would like to commend the victims for their bravery in coming forward and reporting the abuse. They have shown tremendous courage and I hope the fact that Jeffrey Lake has been brought to justice for his crimes and is now beginning a substantial prison sentence allows them to move forward with their lives."
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