South Reston child rapist sentenced to 14 years in jail

Ambrose Clifton.
Ambrose Clifton.

A South Reston paedophile convicted of raping a young child was today (Tuesday) jailed for 14 years at Lincoln Crown Court.

Ambrose Francis Clifton was found guilty by a jury following a trial earlier this year.

Clifton, 71, who lives in South Reston, near Louth, denied charges of rape, sexual assault, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, making an indecent photograph of a child and taking an indecent photograph but was convicted on all counts.

His sentencing was delayed after he fell ill earlier this month and was detained in intensive care at hospital in Grimsby for what is thought to have been pneumonia.

He was arrested on his release and remanded in custody to await his sentence today.

During the trial the jury heard that Clifton committed offences against the child and then warned the youngster and its mother would both die if anything was revealed about what happened.

But the child immediately told the mother and Clifton was arrested back in October 2010.

The victim, who suffered from extreme trauma as a result of being attacked by Clifton, did not make any formal witness statement. Instead the prosecution was heavily based on circumstantial and “hearsay” evidence as well as evidence and indecent photographs of the victim found on Clifton’s computer.

Recorder Gareth Evans QC, passing sentence, told Clifton “You have been convicted on what I believe was overwhelming evidence. It is quite clear that you had no answer to an awful lot of the prosecution case against you.

“You threatened the child. That was a dreadful thing to do.You know the outcome is going to be a long custodial sentence.”

A court order was imposed preventing reporting of both the gender and age of the child as well as detail of where the offences occurred.

Timothy Spencer, QC, defending, said Clifton suffers from serious health problems and is likely to die in prison.

“The prospect of him coming out of prison before he dies is limited. The day he was released from hospital was his last day on this earth at liberty.”

He said Clifton has financial problems and his home was repossessed for failing to keep up with mortgage payments. The pensioner now faces bankruptcy as he is being pursued for the outstanding debt on the house.

In a statement the family said: “We are satisfied with the sentence imposed on Clifton today. His conviction after a lengthy investigation and trial gives us as parents relief that our child was supported by the police and the criminal justice system as a whole. This has been every parent’s worst nightmare but we now hope to put it behind us and move forward as a family.”

Detective Constable David Moxham of the Lincolnshire Police Operation Emerald team which specialises in the investigation of sexual offences said: “This has been one of the most distressing cases I have dealt with. The child’s family, quite understandably, have been devastated by the whole episode and are appalled that the trust they placed in Clifton has been betrayed.

“Ambrose Clifton has showed no remorse and continues to deny the offences in the face of the compelling evidence that convinced the jury of his guilt.

“His young victim and their family have been traumatised by the events outlined during the trial.

“I am pleased with the sentence and hope that it will help the family to return to some semblance of a normal family life whilst serving as a deterrent to other like minded paedophiles.”