[A] CARLISLE man convicted of raping a young girl almost half a century ago has been jailed for four years.
Thomas Ian Messenger, 62, was sentenced at the city’s crown court today (TUES) for a crime he committed in 1970 while he was aged just 14.
Messenger was said to have put his hand over the young victim’s mouth during the sex attack, and afterwards said she should not tell anyone as it was their “secret”.
Messenger, of Morton Rigg, Carlisle, had denied raping the pre-teen girl, but was convicted by a jury following a crown court trial.
Moving statements penned by the victim and read to this morning’s sentencing hearing detailed the profound impact of the crime upon her. Her mental health had been affected and she had suffered from depression.
Prosecutor Richard Haworth also stated of her teenage years: “She felt, she said, like a lost person, and didn’t know how to behave.”
Messenger was described as a “hard-working” individual who had since led a law-abiding life as an adult. But Judith McCullough, defending, said: “This is a man who has already lost everything as a result of this conviction.”
Detective Constable Lisa Atkinson, North Cumbria CID, said: “I’d like to praise the bravery of the victim in this case. This case has her affected her since the day it happened, her childhood was taken away from her by the actions of Messenger.
“I hope that this can bring her some form of closure.
“I would like to reiterate our commitment to investigating thoroughly any reports of sexual abuse – whether recent or non-recent. I would urge anyone who has been subject to offences of this nature to come forward. You will be listened to.”
Messenger was handed his four-year prison term by Judge James Adkin, and told he must sign the sex offenders’ register for life.
Messenger will also be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.