Rapist Christopher Croston jailed for Preston attack

Christopher Croston Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption Christopher Croston was jailed for raping a 14-year-old girl in Preston

A rapist has been jailed for eight years for raping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl who was walking home in Preston.

Christopher Croston, 31, formerly of Netherton, Liverpool, admitted rape and sexual assault when he appeared in court in December.

He was sentenced at Preston Crown Court and given an extended licence of four years.

Police said it was a "despicable crime committed by a horrible individual".

Lancashire Police began an investigation after a 14-year-old girl was sexually assaulted while she was walking home in Ribbleton on 30 September 2013.

She had been out with friends and was walking along Ribbleton Avenue at about 20:10 BST when she was approached by a man who tried to talk to her.

'Extremely courageous'

He followed her to a nearby RSPCA building, dragged her down steps, pushed her to the floor and attacked her before running off.

Croston was traced to an address in Liverpool where he was arrested.

Det Ch Insp Andy Gilbert, of Lancashire Police, said it was a "despicable crime".

He said the only positive was Croston pleaded guilty "which at least spared his victim having to go through a trial".

The victim, he added, had been "extremely courageous" throughout the investigation and had been supported by her family and specially trained officers.

The victim's mother, who cannot be identified, said: "Knowing that justice has been done and punishment will be served offers some consolation, but what he did to my daughter will live with her and me forever and for that I will never forgive him."

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