Child’s silence was “bought”with threats

Date: Friday 20th October 2017
Roger Cook
Roger Cook

A MAN who repeatedly sexually abused a child has been locked up for four years.

Roger David Cook (50), no fixed address, had initially denied committing a number of historical offences in the Appleby area. Cook’s trial got underway last month at Carlisle Crown Court, where a jury heard how he “bought” the girl’s secrecy with “threats of violence”, having molested her.

But on the second day of the hearing — just before his victim was due to give live evidence to the court — he entered guilty pleas to three indecent assaults. These occurred during a period spanning two years. Cook was sentenced yesterday, when the profound impact of his illegal acts on the victim — who is now an adult — was laid bare.

Extracts were given from impact statements, which read: “The whole thing has left me feeling like a wreck. I felt, for some reason, it was all my fault.” The victim added: “I will carry around what he has done to me for ever.”

The jail sentence was passed by Judge Tony Lancaster, who noted that the victim had “had to carry the burden” of what Cook did for many years.

Cook, previously of Trotternish Avenue, Staffin, Isle of Skye, but now said to be of no fixed address, must sign the sex offenders’ register for an indefinite period. He was also made subject to the strict terms of a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

Cook had previously faced a further nine indecent assault charges which were also the subject of his trial last month. At the direction of a judge, jurors returned not guilty verdicts on those allegations after hearing no evidence would be offered by the prosecutor.

After the hearing, detective constable Adam Braniff, North Cumbria CID, said: “Roger Cook is a sexual predator who isolated his victim in order to carry out his attacks. I would like to praise the victim for her courage in reporting what happened to her and assisting with our investigation. Cook’s actions had a significant effect on her childhood and her adult life. I hope that today’s sentencing can assist in her attempts to move on from this.”