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Melton man jailed for 19 years following bravery of victim

A Melton man who raped a young girl multiple times over a sustained period of time has been jailed for more than 19 years.

The victim was in court to see 42-year-old Anthony Reynolds be sentenced and the Judge and police have commended her for her courage.

On Monday, Gloucester Crown Court heard how Reynolds, had systematically raped the victim over a number of years.

He admitted two counts of rape of a child under 13, with one of these counts relating to no fewer than 10 rapes, and also one count of rape of a child over 13.

In January this year the victim disclosed the offences to her school and her mother and police were informed.

Reynolds has been jailed for more than 19 years. Photo: Gloucestershire Constabulary

Reynolds, of Longwill Avenue, Melton had raped the girl a few days prior to the disclosure.

He was arrested and items of the girl's clothing were forensically examined which resulted in Reynolds' semen being found.

The investigation was led by Gloucestershire Constabulary's Child Abuse Investigation Team and he was subsequently charged with the offences.

The court heard Reynolds had initially denied the multiple rapes and attempted to plead guilty to lesser offences, however these were not accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

He later admitted the rapes, which happened between 2019 and earlier this year, in a hearing on 7 June.

Prosecutor Ellen McAnaw read statements to the court on behalf of the victim and her mother.

The victim said: "It would affect me in school because I couldn't concentrate as it was all I could think about. Now I've told someone and I will never see him again, I feel relieved and safer… Sometimes I have thoughts of not wanting to be here anymore, but then I think I have so much to live for and I'm never going to give up."

Her mother had said in her statement that what happened "will haunt me forever".

She added: "When I was told what [victim] had disclosed, my whole world just shattered. I had failed at keeping my daughter safe. I was heartbroken... I will carry this guilt forever.

"The police came to speak to [victim] and I knew at this point she would have been examined and interviewed. I have struggled watching my daughter go through all of this. It has absolutely broken me, knowing that there was nothing I could do to take away the pain, hurt and upset she has gone through."

The court heard how Reynolds' initial denial of the offences resulted in the victim believing she would have to give evidence in court, which caused stress and anxiety. He changed his plea to guilty days before a hearing was due to take place.

His defence barrister said they did not dispute the facts, that Reynolds accepts full responsibility of his actions and understands the implications and lasting impact.

Judge Ian Lawrie KC rejected a request from Reynolds' defence for a 25 per cent reduction off his sentence and instead gave a lesser credit of 12.5 per cent for the guilty pleas.

He sentenced Reynolds to 19 years and three months for the count of multiple rapes and around 13 years (157 months) for the two other counts of rape, to run concurrently.

Following the sentencing Detective Inspector Nick Wheeler, from the Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: "The courage shown from the victim and her family is hugely commendable, and I thank her for being so brave and working with us throughout the investigation.

"Reynolds put the child through a horrific ordeal over a prolonged period of time and he deserves to spend all those years behind bars for what he did.

"We want victims to know that help and support is available, and you don't have to come directly to police first if you don't want to. In this case the victim sought support from her school, and their safeguarding leads then informed us and Reynolds was quickly arrested.

"Although I can't comprehend the impact Reynolds' offending has and will continue to have on the victim, I hope knowing that he is now locked up for a considerable amount of times brings some form of reassurance."

After the sentencing ended Judge Lawrie spoke directly to the victim and her mother in court and commended the victim's courage to come forward and for being prepared to give evidence.

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