Ipswich man, 66, jailed for ‘shameful secret’ of sexually abusing schoolgirl between 1976 and 1985

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

A 66-year-old Ipswich man who sexually abused a schoolgirl nearly 40 years ago has been jailed.

Laurence Englefield, of Alderlee, off Stoke Park Drive, admitted six offences of indecent assault on a girl, one offence of indecency with a child and one offence of attempted rape.

The offences took place between July 1976 and September 1985.

Jailing him for seven years and eight months, with a two year licence period, Judge Rupert Overbury said that despite Englefied admitting many years ago that the sexual abuse had happened, the matters were not reported to the police until 2015.

Judge Overbury said the pastor of Englefield’s church, relatives and friends had described him as being a different person to the one who carried out the sexual assaults 30 years ago.

Judge Overbury said Englefield was described by them as considerate, polite and a “Christian gentleman.”

In addition to jailing him, Judge Overbury ordered Englefield to sign the sex offenders’ register and made him the subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

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Jane Oldfield, prosecuting, told the court Englefield had sexually assaulted the girl on a train under a table in the presence of other passengers who had not realised what was going on.

Englefield had also tried to rape the girl in a park and told her no one would believe her if she reported what he had done.

Miss Oldfield said that since the offences Englefield had stopped drinking and had become a Christian.

He had also asked to see the victim of the offences and had apologised to her and said what he did was wrong.

Miss Oldfield said the victim had become concerned after learning that Englefied had applied for a job as a school caretaker and was worried he was putting himself in temptation’s way.

Richard Conley, for Englefield, said his client felt “utter and complete” remorse for what he had done.

“He has tried to become a better person and in the main he has done so successfully,” Mr Conley said.

“He has lived with a shameful secret for the last 30-40 years and accepts he must be punished.”

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