Keswick farmer convicted over 'secret' rapes

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Raymond Harrison was warned he faces jail after being convicted of all 12 charges

A farmer has been convicted of historical rapes and the sexual abuse of a schoolgirl having told her the attacks were to be their "secret".

A jury at Carlisle Crown Court found Raymond Harrison, 69, guilty of eight charges of rape, indecent assault and acts of indecency.

He was also convicted of four counts of indecent assault relating to a second young victim.

The offences took place about 40 years ago.

Harrison, who lives off Penrith Road in Keswick, was warned the "only outcome" following the guilty verdicts would be prison.

The victims made disclosures to police in 2017.

'So degraded'

"They liked him, they trusted him," prosecutor Kim Whittlestone had told jurors as she introduced the case against Harrison at the beginning of a three-week trial.

"He would buy them sweets and the odd cheeky cigarette.

"The prosecution case is quite simple: that he did this so he could, when he was alone with them, sexually touch them and they wouldn't complain."

The woman raped by Harrison told an officer she felt "so degraded".

"I didn't know what I was doing. He said nobody was to know because it had to be our secret."

Harrison had insisted there was "absolutely nothing at all" of substance in the charges against him and denied them all.

The trial judge, Recorder Ciaran Rankin, told him: "You have been convicted of some extremely serious offences and you will quite properly have been advised that the only outcome can be one of immediate custody - and a custodial sentence of some length."

Sentencing was adjourned until 19 April and Harrison granted conditional bail.

He must also sign the sex offenders register.

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