A Helston pensioner has been jailed for 16 years after being found guilty of indecent assault on a young girl and rape, which had left his victim “significantly damaged”.

Terrence Victor Williams, from Trengrouse Way, faced eight counts of indecent assault on a female under the age of 14, and four counts of rape, dating from 1989 until 1996.

The 68-year-old was convicted by a jury at Truro Crown Court last Thursday, when he was sentenced to 16 years behind bars for the “sustained and degrading sexual abuse.”

During the trial the court had heard how the woman, who was a child when the abuse began, and who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had been forced to visit the doctor in September 1995, as she feared she might be pregnant as a result of the abuse.

Williams’ actions were described as “sustained and degrading sexual abuse”.

Recorder Stephen Parish said: “It started, as it frequently does in these cases, with playing...it then progressed to your touching her breasts and her private parts...when she was a woman you started having intercourse with her.

“It is quite clear that [the woman] has been significantly damaged by what happened to her and she has been until now unable to speak of it, except to the limited extent that she did in 1996 when she complained of one incident.”

Despite beginning an investigation in 1996, a decision was taken by police not to charge Williams with any offences at that time.

Recorder Parish added that Williams’ insistence to the end that he was not guilty meant that the woman had been “subjected to a trial and cross-examination” that “in spite of the measured and restrained way in which it was conducted, was obviously deeply upsetting for her.”

As a result he was depriving Williams of the “significant mitigation” that a guilty plea would have given.

Recorder Parish sentenced two years for seven of the charges, four years for an eighth charge and 16 years for the four counts of rape, ordering that the sentences run concurrently to each other.

Williams is expected to serve half the sentence before being released on licence.

Recorder Parish praised the thoroughness of the investigation, describing it as “exemplary.”

He added: “Witnesses were found from many years ago, they were seen, they gave evidence,” saying the police detective involved should be “commended.”