Hartlepool grandad jailed for 17 years for catalogue of abuse to child

Reginald Styles
Reginald Styles

A pensioner from Hartlepool has been jailed for 17 years for a shocking catalogue of abuse against a young girl.

Grandad Reginald Styles will be almost 80, before he is considered for release.

Teesside Crown Court

Teesside Crown Court

Teesside Crown Court heard that Styles threatened and beat his victim with a bamboo cane when she rejected his sick advances.

A judge said the abuse, which happened more than 30 years ago, had “cast a dark shadow” over the victim, who is now an adult and cannot be named.

Styles, aged 71, was arrested many years later after the victim plucked up the courage to go to the police.

Prosecuting barrister Paul Cleasby said when she described the abuse to police she did not stop speaking for 20 minutes.

Your sexual crimes have cast a dark shadow over (her) throughout her adult life

Judge Stephen Ashurst

Mr Cleasby said: “She effectively off-loaded all that had happened to her as a child that which she had kept bottled up for many years.

“She told police such had been the impact of his offending on her she cannot bear to say his name.

“It makes her shudder when she even hears the Christian name mentioned.”

Styles, of Thetford Road, Hartlepool, was found guilty after a trial of four counts of rape, six charges of indecency with a child and one count of indecent assault.

Mr Cleasby detailed the catalogue of abuse carried out by Styles on the girl.

He added: “If she refused, he would hit her with a bamboo cane.”

Styles’ victim was in court to see him sent to prison. In a victim personal statement she said: “As a result of this incident it has had a massive impact on my life including self harm.

“It has been really hard to talk about what occurred.”

Rod Hunt, mitigating, said: “The person who committed the offences really no longer exists. There was no repeat offending with other people.”

Styles had no previous convictions for sex offences and a letter by his wife spoke highly of him as a good husband, father and grandfather.

Judge Stephen Ashurst told Styles: “Your sexual crimes have cast a dark shadow over your victim throughout her adult life.

“Her victim personal statement summarises the harsh and ugly reality of child sex offending.

“You appeared unmoved by her suffering. You remain in denial.”

He added: “The court understands that a long prison sentence will be daunting for a man of your age.”