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Work by specialist detectives have led to a man who indecently assaulted a teenage girl has been convicted.
Michael McKenzie assaulted the girl between 1996 and 1998 in Southend.
He was arrested after the victim reported what had happened in July 2019.
Our Quest team carried out the investigation into the allegations and charged the 63 year-old McKenzie, of the Grove, Southend with a number of offences.
He denied them but, following a trial at Basildon Crown Court, was found guilty of indecent assault on Friday 29 October.
He's due to be sentenced at the same court on 10 December.
Detective Sergeant Shirley Cole, from our Quest team, said:
“I want to praise the victim for her bravery in reporting what happened to her and for the courage she has shown throughout the investigation and court process.
“These offences have had a significant impact on her as she has grown older and become an adult.
“I hope this conviction shows it is never too late to get justice, no matter when the offences took place.
“Michael McKenzie preyed on the victim and now faces the prospect of time behind bars.”
Our Quest team is a specialist unit set up in 2019 which investigates allegations of non-recent child abuse.
The remit for the cases they investigate are that the offences took place more than a year ago and that the victim was under 18 at the time but is now over 18.
DS Cole said:
“Quest was established to balance the competing demands of historic and recent abuse investigations. Rightly, the investigations where children are currently at risk are the priorities but that meant non-recent matters were less of a priority and their progress was slowed.
“Now we’re able to give the victims the service they deserve and the investigations the time they require.
“People think it’s word against word and we’ll never be able to find proof, but we know what the CPS want in terms of getting these cases charged. There’s lots we can do.
“It can take time to bring these investigations to court but we are now beginning to see a lot of our cases coming to trial.”
Quest contact all victims in ongoing cases at least once every 28 days but increase the frequency when they think more support is required.
The team also work very closely with independent sexual violence advisors (ISVAs) and encourage victims to engage with SynergyEssex – an umbrella organisation of specialist charities who provide support to victims of sexual violence and abuse all the way up to trial.