Rapist, 44, begins 11-year prison term
A FORMER Lowestoft man described as a 'real risk' to women and young girls, was behind bars this week starting an 11-year jail term.Stephen Sherger was handed the significant sentence at Ipswich Crown Court this week after pleading guilty to raping and indecently assaulting a 12-year-old girl over a four-year period.
A FORMER Lowestoft man described as a 'real risk' to women and young girls, was behind bars this week starting an 11-year jail term.
Stephen Sherger was handed the significant sentence at Ipswich Crown Court this week after pleading guilty to raping and indecently assaulting a 12-year-old girl over a four-year period.
The 44-year-old, formerly of Tedder Road and most recently of Nelson Road South, Great Yarmouth, admitted five counts of rape at the court on Monday, as well as one count of indecent assault and another count of sexual assault.
He also admitted three counts of sexual activity with a separate 13-year-old girl.
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Speaking after the case, police chiefs this week hailed the 'courage' shown by the girls and young women involved in the shocking incidents.
Det Insp Terry Jones, of North-East Suffolk Victim Care Centre, said: 'This man had been abusing girls for a number of years and represented a real risk to females of all ages, so we are pleased that the court has seen fit to give him a sentence of 11 years.
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'The officer in the case worked closely with the victims throughout the process and her hard work has helped to secure statements and evidence, which led to Sherger pleading guilty to ten sexual offences.
'We would like to reassure anyone who may have been a victim of abuse that their complaints will be taken seriously and fully investigated,' added Det Insp Jones.
DC Anita Powers, the officer overseeing this case, said: 'The thing that stands out for me, and several similar cases I have dealt with recently, is the courage of the girls and young women in coming forward.
'They thought no one would believe them, but were strong enough to come to police and talk about the abuse they suffered. We appreciate their determination to see the process through to help bring this man to justice.
'Their actions may well have protected others from similar harm.'
At this week's crown court hearing, Giles Myatt, prosecuting, said Sherger's victim was just 12-years-old when he first raped her.
'She was too scared to say no,' Mr Myatt said. 'She thought her mother wouldn't love her if she found out what was going on.
'She said she would just try to believe it wasn't happening.
'It wasn't as if she could put up any resistance. He would tell her to do as she was told.'
Sentencing Sherger, Judge Devaux said: 'There was repeated abuse over six years or so. The sentence has to be a long one.'
Sherger was also forced to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life and was banned from being in a room or his car with a child under 16 without their parent, guardian or responsible adult.