'You destroyed my innocence': Abuse survivor condemns rapist for attacks dating back 40 years
A child abuse survivor fought back tears as she confronted her rapist in court, telling him "you have robbed me of my true self".
Pensioner Malcolm Fletcher was jailed for eight-and-half years for raping the female when she was child in the mid 1970s.
Fletcher, aged, 72, denied the allegations, but was found guilty after a trial of of five offences, including indecent assault, gross indecency with a child and three counts of rape.
Leeds Crown Court was told that the abuse of the girl had started at the age of 11 after he groomed her.
Fletcher was in his 20s at the time and the abuse took place over several years.
Reading out an victim impact statement to the court, in which Fletcher appeared via videolink from HMP Leeds, she said he targeted her when she was on the 'threshold of starting her senior life'.
The victim, who can not be identified for legal reasons, added: "For the past 45 years I have asked myself, 'why me?' It has haunted my life since then.
"Your abuse has affected my whole life since then. It trapped me in a very lonely place.
"It destroyed my innocence and destroyed any sense of who I was.
"You have robbed me of my true self, each day has been a struggle."
She said she had spent her life being angry at herself and the world, and had even attempted suicide.
She struggled to form relationships, had played truant at school or became the class joker to hide her emotions.
Fletcher, of West Close, Pontefract, shook his head as Judge Andrew Stubbs QC addressed him, and put his hands in his head when the final sentence was put to him.
Speaking afterwards, DI Kristy Wright, of the Wakefield Child Safeguarding Unit, said: “Fletcher preyed on his victim and took opportunities over a four year period to subject her to a catalogue of sexual abuse, including rape.
“The victim came forward to the police two years ago. She has showed immense courage in detailing what happened to her during her childhood, which this man stole from her. He refused to admit his guilt and subjected her to the further ordeal of a trial.
“I hope his conviction and the fact he is now behind bars provides some form of closure for the victim; who has lived with the consequences of this man’s actions for over 40 years.
“I also hope that it demonstrates that we will take action, regardless of the passage of time, to ensure that those who commit such offences face the justice they deserve.”