A PENSIONER who sexually abused a young girl three decades ago has been spared jail after he was deemed mentally unfit for prison.
Perverted Raymond Hawker was allowed to hobble away from Portsmouth Crown Court – leaving his female victim sickened.
The woman, who endured years of abuse at Hawker’s deviant hands, said she does at least feel vindicated the truth about the Hayling Island child predator is now out there.
The victim, now in her 30s, bravely decided to step forward and pursue the case through the courts after locking away the dark secret to herself for more than 30 years.
Hawker, 77, of Castlemans Lane, would under normal circumstances have served a lengthy jail term for his sordid actions on the girl between 1987 and 1993. But after not being deemed fit enough to take the stand due to mental health issues, Hawker did not have to attend his trial over the historical charges against him.
Despite only having the victim’s version of events to go on, the jury were convinced he had molested the girl – with them returning unanimous verdicts of his guilt on five charges of indecent assault on a female under the age of 10 years and an offence of inciting a girl under 14 years to commit an act of gross indecency.
However, at his sentencing on Friday, following further psychiatric tests, Hawker was given an absolute discharge and allowed to walk free due to his mental health conditions.
Doctors decided the only other option available at sentencing – a hospital supervision order – was not ‘necessary or desirable’ in the circumstances with there ‘nothing that would require treatment in hospital’.
Defence barrister Sarah Jones told the court the outcome was ‘always anticipated after we all unfortunately knew where it was headed’.
Ms Jones then added: ‘I do not seek to minimise the acts he was found to have done but it was a long time ago.’
The barrister also stated that the ‘length of time it has taken to get to this stage’ after two previous trials were abandoned was fitting justice for Hawker.
Judge David Melville QC admitted his hands were tied with sentencing after the ‘jury had found the victim’s claims to be true’.
He said: ‘It was a very difficult experience for the victim. She had to go back over painful memories from many years ago when she was a young girl which have affected her. No sentence I pass will materially change that.’
Turning to Hawker, judge Melville added: ‘You’ve been in bad health for four years. You had a stroke and have neurological damage. The doctors say there is no treatment that is necessary or desirable and the powers of the court are limited to an absolute discharge or a supervision order.
‘The reality is that you will not need supervision so the only sensible option is an absolute discharge.’
Speaking outside court, the victim – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said of the outcome: ‘I’m not surprised – it’s what we thought he would get. The main thing is that everyone knows the truth about what he did. Hopefully I will have some closure now.
‘Ray knows the truth as well. He gave me one look in court and looked straight away out of guilt. He and his family have to live with that for the rest of their lives.’