On Wednesday 11th October, a 54 year old man from the Comber area was sentenced at Laganside Crown Court for 21 offences including rape, gross indecency with or towards a child, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and sexual assault of a child under 13.

The man, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the victim, was sentenced to 14 years. He will serve seven years in prison and seven years on licence. He will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely and will also be subjected to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Detective Chief Inspector Leah Crothers said: “The victim in this case was subjected to a campaign of  sexual abuse and rape over an eight-year period. This man abused the trust of a young child and repeatedly subjected her to deplorable crimes.

“I want to commend the victim and her family for their courage and bravery in telling the Police about what had happened, and then working with us throughout the investigation.

“We remain committed to investigating all reports of sexual offences against children and young people, no matter when they occurred. Our specially trained detectives ensure victims are listened to, safeguarded and supported from the moment they report. Please don’t suffer in silence.

“If you have ever experienced any form of sexual abuse, we urge you to  pick up the phone and call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”