A MAN has been jailed for 20 years after being found guilty of the rape of a child under 13.
Paul Keith Buckland, of Prestonbury Close, Plymouth, was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on Friday (September 8) after being found guilty of the following charges:
Two counts of rape of a child under 13;
Two counts of attempted raped of a child under 13;
Two counts of sexual assault of a child under 13;
One count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child;
Two counts of causing a child to watch a sexual act.
The offences were committed while 35-year-old Buckland was living in Tidworth, Wiltshire.
Buckland refused to attend court to hear his sentence – and this was considered an aggravating factor.
The offences were committed more than 10 years ago but were only reported to Wiltshire Police in 2020. He was subsequently arrested and charged.
Despite pleaded not guilty to the offences, Buckland was convicted in a trial which ended on June 30.
As well as being jailed, he will be required to sign on to the sex offenders’ register and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order.
Investigating officer DC Louise Thomas, of the Child Abuse Investigation Team at Wiltshire Police, said: “Buckland is an abhorrent individual who committed unspeakable acts to, and in the presence of, a child.
“Actions such as his have long-lasting and traumatic effects on their victims, which can manifest in myriad ways.
“I’d like to commend the victim in speaking to us about her experiences – I understand how difficult it must have been for her and I hope that this sentence can bring some sort of relief, knowing Buckland is behind bars.
“This case is a reminder that Wiltshire Police will always investigate reports of sexual assault and child abuse, no matter when the incident took place.
“This incident took place more than a decade ago but didn’t come to light until 2020 when it was bravely reported to us by the victim and her family.
“Please be reassured that the CAIT team here in Wiltshire Police is totally committed to targeting dangerous offenders like Buckland and protecting innocent victims.”
Anyone wishing to report concerns regarding child sexual abuse should contact police immediately on 101, regardless of how much time has passed since the abuse.