Jail for child abuser who bribed victims
A man extradited to the UK to face child sex assault charges has been jailed for 16 years after he was convicted of harrowing sex attacks in Devon and the West Midlands.
David James, 61, stared straight ahead as the jury recorded unanimous guilty verdicts in all 11 counts against him, offences which took place during the 1980s and 90s.
Exeter Crown Court heard James bought his victims' silence with sweets and money, threatening them not to tell their parents.
It took the jury just three hours and 29 minutes to find James guilty of rape, indecent assault and indecency with a child. His youngest victim was aged just seven.
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Judge Francis Gilbert said: "The delay (in conviction) has been brought about by the delay in evidence because you threatened (the victims) with violence, at a time when they were very young and very vulnerable.
"Therefore it is incredibly understandable that they only made their complaints when they did.
"The effect (on the victims) has been utterly understandable. They were very courageous – these were very serious offences," he said. The court heard James moved to America following the breakdown of his marriage in 2002 and was only made aware of the allegations when he was arrested in Florida in April 2010.
Nicolas Gerasimidis, prosecuting, said James was extradited from the US to England to "face the music". He said: "It has been a long process before bringing this man to justice for what, say the prosecution, he's done.
"This man is a paedophile and was grooming those girls to begin with."
Mr Gerasimidis said James, formerly of Livermore Road in Honiton, and later Merrick Road in Wolverhampton, referred to the girls as "his little princesses" and said the sex attacks would be their "little secret".
Giving evidence from behind a screen, one of James's victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, described how he would touch her with fingers that "felt like sandpaper". She said that after raping her James said that if she told anyone they would not believe her.
The court was told James lived with his new wife, Peggy, an American national, whose serious illness would prevent her from moving to the UK.
James was told he would serve about two-thirds of his sentence before being considered for parole.
He will also sign the sex offenders register indefinitely.