Victim was nine years old at the time

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A Lydd man who raped and assaulted a young girl almost two decades ago has been jailed for 14 years.

Royce Mackett, formerly of The Green, denied the charges but was found guilty at Canterbury Crown Court.

The offences were reported to Kent Police in September 2011 by the victim and Mackett was charged in March last year.

The 53-year-old denied that whilst living in the Hythe area between 1994 and 1997, he had raped the girl and committed two offences of indecent assault. The victim was aged just nine when the first offence took place.

Following a four week trial, Mackett – who had repeatedly protested his innocence to the community where he lived - was found guilty of all the offences.

He has been jailed for 14 years and placed on the sex offenders register.

Police said the investigation was a long and harrowing one, during which the investigating officer made enquiries with and took statements from 18 witnesses. Nine of these were prosecution witnesses during the trial.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Pritchard, of Kent Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and determination of the victim, firstly in coming forward to talk about the horrific abuse she had suffered as a child and also for the courage with which she has faced a trial lasting four weeks.

“Our officers are trained to investigate cases such as these which can be complex and difficult due to the period of time that has elapsed between the offences being committed and being reported to the police.

“But however long that period, we will fully investigate any reports of abuse as well as support a victim through a very difficult period in her or his life.

“I hope that today’s sentencing, following the earlier conviction of Royce Mackett, will reassure the community that sex offenders will be traced and put before the courts to answer for their vile crimes.”

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