Scarborough serial sex offender jailed for 11 years, as victim tells of how her life's been ruined

A serial sex offender described by his victim as a “monster” has been jailed for 11 years.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 9:26 am
York Crown Court.

Eric Roe, 70, preyed on and groomed the very-young girl, whose life had been “destroyed” following years of abuse.

Roe - who was in his late 40s and early 50s when he abused the girl in Scarborough over a prolonged period, starting in 2000 - appeared for sentence at York Crown Court yesterday after being convicted of 13 separate charges including indecency with a child and causing a girl under 13 years of age to engage in sexual activity.

The pensioner hid his secret for many years until the victim finally came forward to police in 2018.

During her ordeal, she was sexually assaulted on “countless” occasions.

Roe, of Commercial Street, would manipulate the girl by getting her to “play a game”, said prosecutor David McGonigal.

In a statement read out in court, the victim - now an adult - told how her life had been ruined by Roe’s acts.

“Nobody will truly understand how this has affected me,” she said.

“I’ve struggled emotionally for over 10 years. I was groomed into thinking that what happened to me was acceptable and I know now it was not.

“This (abuse) has affected everything from my education to my relationships. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anybody. I was ashamed.”

She had been prescribed anti-depressants after “tears, sleepless nights and nightmares”.

“The pain never leaves you alone,” she added.

She had undergone counselling “numerous times” but said that the recovery process “wasn’t over yet – when will it ever be?”.

“I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing that monster (again),” she added.

The victim said it took “every ounce” of her courage to go through the whole court process after being forced to give evidence following Roe’s denial of the offences.

During the week-long trial in March, the jury heard that Roe had begun by “softening up” the little girl before waging a campaign of systematic sexual abuse.

The victim had sought help from her doctor as she got older after showing signs of distress and being “visibly upset”.

Taryn Turner, for Roe, said: “I accept that this is an awful thing that the jury found had happened.

"I acknowledge that grooming behaviour was present.”

She said that Roe - whose long-term partner had just passed away - had up to that point been a man of “good character”, albeit one with a “secretive past”.

She said although Roe was a man of low intelligence, there was no excuse for these “nefarious activities”.

Mrs Turner said prison would be “extremely difficult” for Roe, who was “used to an outdoor, active life”.

Judge Simon Hickey told Roe: “You were 49 to 54 years of age (at the time of the offences) and you chose, quite deliberately, to abuse that young girl in a variety of ways.

“You groomed her. She didn’t know what was going on and she didn’t realise things were progressing.

"(She was) quite a vulnerable child.”

The judge told Roe he had caused “severe psychological harm” to the victim whose life had been “curtailed” as a result.

He said Roe’s campaign of abuse had “effectively destroyed (the victim’s) life”.

Roe remained stony-faced as the judge passed down an 11-year prison sentence.

Mr Hickey told the pensioner he would serve half of that sentence behind bars before being released on parole.

Roe was ordered to sign on the sex-offenders’ register for life.

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