Barnsley man jailed for raping girl aged nine

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A man now in his 30s has been jailed for 12 years for raping a nine-year-old girl 21 years ago when he was just 19.

Jason Woodhall, now aged 38, was a teenager when he took advantage of the youngster and began a ‘relationship’ with her.

The court heard he groomed the child into believing she was his girlfriend and agreed to sexual activity.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the offences took place during a six-week period in 1993.

They were reported to South Yorkshire Police at the time, but the girl didn’t want to press charges because she believed Woodhall was her boyfriend.

But she reported him again to the police in 2012 after realising his conduct was criminal, and after a spate of high-profile historic sex cases.

Woodhall, of Lilydene Avenue, Grimethorpe, Barnsley, was found guilty of two counts of rape and four of indecent assault by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court.

After the hearing, Detective Sergeant Heather Stocks, who led the investigation, said: “The sentence handed to Woodhall reflects the appalling nature of his crimes and demonstrates our commitment to locking up those who sexually exploit children.

“The victim has shown great courage coming forward and I hope this sentence offers her some closure after what has been a very difficult and traumatic experience for her.”

■ Anyone who has been affected by sexual abuse can get free, confidential advice by ringing Sheffield Rape Crisis on 0114 2447936.