A man who abducted and raped a young girl before dumping her hundreds of miles from home has been jailed for 16 years.
Paul Ripley, 53, of no fixed abode, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Friday, April 8 charged with kidnap, two counts of raping a female under 13, and dangerous driving.
The court heard how on the evening of Saturday, November 7, police received reports of an 11-year-old girl that had gone missing from her home in Ellesmere Port. Extensive searches were conducted to find her before, at around 1.45am the following morning officers were notified by colleagues at Durham Constabulary that they had the girl in their care, having been found in a small village near Darlington.
A short time later, motorway police stopped a car on the M6 near Preston, Lancashire and arrested the occupant.
Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Woodward said Ripley was a dangerous man and was “the living embodiment of every parents worst nightmare.” He was jailed for 16 years and will be eligible to apply for parole after 10 years eight months but has an eight year extension to his licence. He is also disqualified from driving for 12 months and must take an extended test.
Following sentencing, the family issued a statement. It says: “On Saturday, 7th November 2015, our daughter’s life and the lives of all her family completely changed forever. Our daughter, who is only 11 years old, was walking home from her friend’s house when she was kidnapped and subjected to a horrendous ordeal by a total stranger – being raped twice, before she was dumped in village hundreds of miles from home.
“Words cannot properly describe what our whole family went through that night. The police were very quick to launch their investigation and, to our relief, identified the person responsible just hours after he had committed these terrible crimes.
“Paul Ripley has admitted his guilt and today has been sentenced accordingly, though this can never undo the damage he has inflicted on our family. Our daughter will have to live with what this man subjected her to that night forever. He has shown no remorse for his actions, and we can only hope he comes to terms with what he’s done while he’s behind bars.
“We would like to thank Cheshire police, the CPS and everybody involved in the investigation who worked tirelessly to bring Ripley to justice, as well as those who have helped our daughter and her family throughout this terrible ordeal.”
Detective Inspector Steve Jones, who led the investigation, said: “This case is among the most appalling that I have dealt with during my time at Cheshire Constabulary. Ripley subjected his victim – a young girl – to an horrendous attack and callously dumped her miles away from home where she did not know anyone or even where she was. He has shown no remorse for his actions that day and pleaded guilty only when confronted by overwhelming evidence.
“Thanks to the diligence of our colleagues at Durham and Lancashire constabularies, we were able to apprehend the offender while he was still returning to Cheshire, having committed these heinous crimes.
“I’d like to pay tribute to the bravery of the victim and the dedication of the officers and staff involved who have worked together to secure today’s result. I hope that, for the sake of the victim and her family, today’s sentence will allow them to move forward with their lives.”
DI Jones added that, although the investigation suggests this was Ripley’s first offence, officers would be keen to speak with anyone who has information to the contrary. If you have been a victim of any offence of this nature, you can speak to one of our highly trained officers by calling 101.