Pensioner, 84, jailed for 12 years for sex abuse against young girl

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A PENSIONER who ‘groomed, manipulated and conditioned’ a young girl for years in a string of sex attacks has been jailed.

Derek Lemmon, 84, forced his young victim to keep a ‘terrible secret’ for nearly 30 years before she plucked up the courage to tell police of the abuse in March last year.

Speaking to The News after Lemmon was jailed for 12 years and six months, she said: ‘He’s a vile man.’

The woman, now in her 40s, added: ‘I feel like justice has been done.’

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Lemmon, of Sultan Road, Buckland, will most likely die in prison as he has terminal cancer that has spread from his lung.

Simon Foster, prosecuting, told how the woman, who cannot be named, was ‘controlled, manipulated, and indeed conditioned so that sexual activity between the two of them became effectively the norm’.

Mr Foster said: ‘I describe this as systematic sexual grooming.’

The court heard that Lemmon abused the victim from the age of 10 in the 1990s.

Much of the abuse was repeated over a period of years, the court was told by Mr Foster.

At the age of 14 the victim washed her mouth out with bleach after she was forced to perform an act on Lemmon, and later took baths in bleach after she was abused.

Lemmon admitted eight charges of indecent assault, two of which would now be classed as rape offences, the judge said.

Reading from the victim’s personal statement, Mr Foster said: ‘She describes herself as “never having the chance to be me”.’

‘I dreamed for a long time of the day I’d no longer have to be scared for myself and others,’ she said.

Jailing Lemmon, judge Susan Evans QC said she was forced to keep a ‘terrible secret’.

‘You controlled and manipulated her and created opportunities to be alone with her,’ the judge said.

‘She was forced to keep a terrible secret for many years, terrified of its revelation and what may follow.’

The judge added: ‘(She) bathed in bleach to try and feel clean after your disgusting abuse of her.’

Lemmon, who can only walk a few yards and is hard of hearing was jailed for 12 years and six months in custody, with a year’s extended licence. The judge said: ‘You will serve have of that custodial term in prison. You will then be released if you live that long.’

Damian Hayes, for Lemmon, said his client would never again see his wife, who is in a nursing home.

Outside court the victim said she would never have been able to come to court without support from the Independent Sexual Violence Advocate, now run by charity Aurora New Dawn. The service looks after the needs of victims, supporting them through the criminal justice system.

n Call Treetops Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Cosham on (023) 9221 0352 from 8am to 6pm daily.

n Call Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service on (023) 9266 9513. Call Aurora on (023) 9247 2165.