Cornwall

Serial sex attacker William Pope jailed for sex attack on girl

William Pope Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption William Pope admitted indecent assault

A serial sex attacker who forced himself on a 13-year-old girl 16 years ago has faced justice after she saw his photograph in a news report.

William Pope, 58, punched the girl and indecently assaulted her while she was walking near Truro in 2003.

The victim told Truro Crown Court the attack ruined her life and was "one of the worst things any child can go through".

Pope, who admitted indecent assault, was jailed for six and a half years.

Heather Hope, prosecuting, said Pope came up behind the girl and punched her in the face, knocked her to the ground and pinned her down before sexually assaulting her.

"She was absolutely petrified," Ms Hope said.

'I wished he had killed me'

The court heard the police were called but despite extensive inquiries, no suspect was found.

In 2017 Pope was convicted of a series of sexual offences and his picture was published on local news site, Cornwall Live.

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption An e-fit was released in 2003 but did not lead police to a suspect

The woman saw the report and recognised the former scaffolder.

In a victim impact statement she said Pope hit her so hard she struggled to eat for a week but the "real damage" was caused to her mind.

"I thought this man was going to kill me and for a long time I wished he had," she said.

Pope has previous convictions for sexual assault on a number of women and children dating back to the 1980s.

Sentencing him, Judge Simon Carr said: "You destroyed the life of a child for your own sexual gratification."

Det Con Joel Brown said the woman had shown "extreme bravery and strength".

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