A sex assault victim has finally seen her vile attacker jailed – more than 20 years after he was first arrested.
The 30-year-old victim was just six when she was repeatedly assaulted by Neil Beeken over a seven-month period.
Today the woman, who has her own young daughter, watched the 51-year-old be led from the dock at Sheffield Crown Court to begin a five-year prison sentence.
The court heard the woman first complained to her mother about what Beeken had done in 1991.
Her mother went to the police but she decided not to put her young daughter through the trauma of a trial in court. Beeken therefore went free.
Years later, the victim decided to go to the police again when her own daughter was six years old.
Judge Julian Goose QC said the legal system was now much more sympathetic to people of all ages complaining about sexual offences.
He said the victim’s mother faced a difficult dilemma 24 years ago and added: “Matters were very different in 1991.
“Her mother was worried about putting her six-year-old daughter through the rigours of a criminal trial. Happily these days the processes are far more sympathetic.”
Judge Goose said the woman finally decided to go to police when her own daughter turned six and she saw ‘how young and vulnerable’ she looked.
A victim personal statement from the woman detailed how she had struggled with relationships all her life because of what Beeken did.
The statement said: “What Neil Beeken did to me and my family has had a huge impact on me and my life and how I bring up my children. I will never forget that.”
The judge said he had to sentence Beeken, a full-time carer, on the basis of the law as it was when the offences were committed, between September 1990 and April 1991.
He said that in the present day, the offences committed against the girl would have been classed as rape rather than sexual assault, and the sentence would have been considerably more severe.
Beeken, of Busk Meadows, Shirecliffe, denied four counts of indecent assault but was convicted after a trial last month.