A paedophile who sexually abused young girls has finally been brought to justice - nearly 20 years after one of the victims first lodged a complaint to police.
John William Robinson, 57, formerly of Scarborough, was jailed for six years at York Crown Court on Tuesday when sentencing judge Paul Batty QC questioned why the abuser had escaped justice for so long.
Robinson, who is married and used to work for the chocolate firm Nestle, abused the girls in York between 1996 and 1999 and was first arrested in 1998 after an aunt of one of the victims went to police.
Robinson, of Walmer Carr, Wigginton, near York, was questioned by police but “bluffed his way out of it”.
A year later, in November 1999, the two other victims came forward to police, but the Crown Prosecution Service decided there wasn’t sufficient evidence and in 2000 it decided no further action would be taken. Robinson then went on to abuse other children.
In 2012, one of the victims again went to police after hearing that the sexual predator had been jailed for abusing four other girls of a similar age. This abuse began in 1998.
“She rang the police when she heard about them, (but) she was told to move on with her life,” said prosecutor Caroline Wigin.
“She was told there was no record of her earlier complaint. She became depressed and blamed herself for not stopping the defendant from abusing other girls.”
However, the victim persisted and in 2014 went back to police again. This time the authorities decided to prosecute her abuser, who finally confessed.
Robinson admitted six indecent assaults against one victim of the current prosecution, three against another and five against a third.
In a statement read out in court, the now-adult victim who made the original complaint said: “It has taken 19 years but I finally feel some justice.”
She felt the abuse she had suffered was somehow her fault and “felt apologetic all my life”.
Barrister Ms Wigin said the abuse had had a “severe” psychological effect on the victim, whose confidence had been shattered.
She felt anxious around men and found it hard to trust anyone because people were “capable of doing horrible things”. Her personal relationships had also suffered and she felt anxiety about the safety of her own child.
Defence barrister Michael Rawlinson said that Robinson - who was released from his previous prison sentence in August last year - had been married for 35 years and was a carer for his seriously-ill wife.
He added that as a child, Robinson had himself been a victim of sexual abuse at a local-authority care home in Scarborough.
Judge Mr Batty QC said the victim who initially came forward to police was initially “not effectively listened to”, but she “bravely persisted” to force a prosecution.
He told Robinson he had “ruined” her life, “indeed probably robbed her of much of her childhood”, and the effect on the other victims had been “devastating”.
“This case… represents the gross and persistent abuse of young children,” added Mr Batty. “Unhappily and tragically, you were not brought to justice in a timely fashion and so it was that you were able to go on to abuse other children again and again and again, right up to 2012.
Jailing Robinson for six years, Mr Batty said he had to bear in mind the victims’ “long wait for justice”.
Robinson was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register and made subject to a sexual-harm prevention order for an indefinite period.