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Lorry driver jailed after assault

PUBLISHED: 13:00 05 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:57 03 March 2010

A LORRY driver has been cleared of raping a young girl in the cab of his vehicle but today starts a custodial sentence after being found guilty of indecent assault.

A LORRY driver has been cleared of raping a young girl in the cab of his vehicle but today starts a custodial sentence after being found guilty of indecent assault.

Martin Benterman, 45, of Old Norwich Road, Ipswich , was convicted of two counts of indecent assault at the end of a three-day trial at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court yesterday.

Benterman had pleaded not guilty to both the rape allegation, which dates back to September 1979, and two counts of indecent assault from sometime in 1980 and then 1983.

The court heard that the victim was of secondary school age at the time of the incidents.

Benterman was sentenced to a total of 33 months in prison and was told by deputy circuit judge Gareth Davies he would spend half that time in custody and the remainder as a suspended sentence.

Benterman was also told he would have to remain on the Sex Offenders List indefinitely .

The jury – of seven men and five women – took more than four hours to come to their verdict.

Speaking earlier in the trial, Benterman said he was shocked when he was first told about the allegations and that he had no idea how they came about.

The victim had claimed on the first day of the trial she was raped in the cab of Benterman's lorry during a trip from Lowestoft to Ipswich docks.

He admitted he had given the victim a ride in his cab but could not recall when exactly this was.

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