Clacton: Man sentenced for historic child sexual abuse
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Two victims of childhood sexual assault have said they will never forget the care shown by the detective who brought their abuser to justice.
Ian Vinnell, 85, had denied four counts of indecent assault relating to allegations dating back to the 1970s.
The charges arose after two women came forward with allegations about Vinnell, who was a former neighbour.
A thorough investigation followed into their allegations, led by specialist officers within our Public Protection Investigations Hub.
The victims were supported by a dedicated officer throughout, with additional support from an Independent Sexual Advisor from the Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse in Essex.
The case faced a delay due to Vinnell’s poor health, but he was deemed fit to stand trial.
In police interview, Vinnell, of Albany Gardens West, Clacton, tried to accuse the two victims of fabricating the allegations.
But a jury saw through his lies, and he was convicted following the trial at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday 19 October.
Mitigation was heard relating to the defendant’s age and poor health, and Vinnell was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.
He was ordered to pay £5,000 in compensation to each of the victims.
He was also placed on the sex offenders register for five years.
Both victims described the impact of Vinnell’s crimes in statements read aloud at court.
One said: “Throughout by early adult life I had friends come and go, I felt I never had confidence in maintaining friendships.
“I have pushed what Ian did to me out of my mind for years.”
The other said: “I feel embarrassed and ashamed of myself about what Ian did to me.
“I know I shouldn’t and I know it’s not my fault. It feels like I have done something wrong.”
DC Hayley Green, officer in the case, said: “I would firstly like to pay tribute to the strength and steadfast resilience shown by both victims throughout what has been a lengthy and traumatic process.
“Vinnell never faced up to the damage caused by his actions, choosing instead to put his victims through a protracted and difficult trial process.
“It is my hope that his conviction will draw a line under this awful chapter for the victims, allowing them a chance to put this case behind them.
“They have both shown amazing fortitude in sticking with this case.
“By doing so, they have shown that no matter how long ago people commit crimes, justice will be served.
“It is never too late to come forward to tell us about abuse you have suffered. You will be heard.”
Speaking following sentencing, the victims said: “We would like to thank the charity CARA, the volunteers at witness service at the court and, crucially, Essex Police for how the case was dealt with.
“We would like to thank DC Hayley Green, as we wouldn’t have been able to get through this without her determination to get justice for us.
“The rapport she built with us during the investigation is something we will never forget.
“We would both urge other victims to come forward. It is never too late to speak up.”
Support is there for anyone affected by rape and sexual abuse, and no victim or survivor is alone. Synergy Essex provides specialist support for victims and survivors of rape and sexual abuse of all ages and all genders across Essex, Thurrock and Southend.
Synergy Essex is a partnership of rape and sexual abuse centres in Essex: CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse), SERICC Rape and Sexual Abuse Specialist Service and Southend-on-Sea Rape Crisis (SOS Rape Crisis). Synergy Essex is independent from the police and provides support for victims and survivors throughout their journey.
Victims and survivors can self-refer, or be referred by a parent, partner, friend or professional and can access specialist emotional support, counselling and advocacy. For victims and survivors who report to the police, Synergy Essex provides an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) service, providing support throughout the criminal justice process.