Bexhill man jailed for child sex offences

Bruce Child. Picture: Sussex Police
Bruce Child. Picture: Sussex Police

A Bexhill man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for sexually abusing a young woman over a five year period, according to police.

Bruce Child, 64, formerly of Jameson Road, Bexhill was also sentenced for facilitating the sexual abuse of two children by another offender who has already received a life sentence, police said.

Child himself is already serving a three-year sentence imposed in March last year for attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming, and for two offences of making indecent images of children, according to police.

Police said he was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday (May 10), having pleaded guilty on February 6 this year, to two counts of multiple indecent assault on a female under 16 and, two counts of multiple rapes of the same victim when over 16, and one count of facilitating the commission of child sex offences by another man in Hertfordshire.

He was sentenced to seven and a half years for each of the counts of rape, to one and a half years for each of the counts of indecent assault. All these sentences are to run consecutively.

He was also sentenced to six years for the count of facilitating the commission of child sex offences, to run concurrently with the other sentences.

Child is already a registered sex offender for life and had been issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last until further court order, severely restricting his access to children and computers.

On learning of Child’s arrest in November 2016 for the grooming offence, the local victim bravely disclosed how she had previously been a victim of Child.

In a statement, Sussex Police said: “The victim was a teenager when Child first groomed and sexually abused her at various locations in the Hastings area.” The offending escalated to rape when she got older, according to police.

“The facilitating offence related to Child’s extensive online contact with Hertfordshire offender Michael Emerton, who is now serving nine life sentences for a series of child sex offences relating to the two victims, a boy and a girl. Child facilitated and encouraged Emerton’s offending with the clear intent of abusing the girl himself.”

Detective Constable Chris Smith of the Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit said: “This was a complex investigation with great teamwork across force boundaries.

“Child was initially arrested in November 2016 after he attempted to meet in Leicester what he thought was a 12-year-old girl who had been talking to online. He had in fact been talking to an undercover police officer.

“He was taken to Hastings where our Safeguarding Investigation Unit colleagues progressed the investigation, searched Child’s property and recovered from his computers and related items, material which led to the identification of Michael Emerton in Hertfordshire.

“Police there were alerted. They arrested Emerton and seized his computers, subsequently providing us with a huge amount of evidence in the form of extensive online communications between Child and Emerton.

“We would like to commend the Sussex victim for her courage in coming forward and reporting the matter to us, and hope that the guilty pleas and sentencing enable her to have some closure for the abuse she suffered.

“It was clear that Child cynically manipulated and took advantage of her for many years. The victim has had access to sources of advice, counselling and support since disclosing the matter to police.”