A pervert who sexually abused a little girl when she was as young as three has been caged for 16 years.
Police who investigated the horrific case branded Barry Anthony Woodhead a “predatory sex offender” who manipulated his vulnerable young victim for years.
He had denied raping and attacking the youngster more than a decade ago. But jurors found the 41-year-old, of no fixed abode, guilty of a string of 24 charges after a four-day trial at Preston Crown Court.
Det Sgt Steve Ollerton, of Lancashire Police, said: “Barry Woodhead is a dangerous individual who manipulated and abused a young girl in the most horrific way, targeting the victim to satisfy his own depraved urges. I am glad to say a predatory sex offender has been taken off the streets and I hope the fact Woodhead is now behind bars will enable the victim to move forward with her life. It is clear however that his actions will have a long-lasting effect on her.”
Each of the new charges were specimen counts covering Woodhead’s ongoing behaviour over each year the abuse took place, between 2002 and 2010. They include seven counts of rape, seven of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, two of indecent assault, two of indecency with a child and six of sexual assault of a child.
Burnley Crown Court was told the abuse began in 2002 with a series of indecent assaults and progressed over the years. The abuse took place in the Chorley area.
Judge Sara Dodd said the offences were so serious that Woodhead must serve an extended licence once he is released by the parole board.
An NSPCC spokesman said: “His despicable behaviour is likely to have a lasting impact on the vulnerable young girl who has displayed extraordinary courage in speaking out. That bravery has helped bring Woodhead to justice and ensuring she receives ongoing help and support is now vitally important.”