Lichfield man jailed for 22 years for historic sexual assaults on young girls
A Lichfield man who preyed on four young girls in a series of rapes and indecent assaults in the 1970s and 1980s has been jailed for 22 years.
Anthony Ashley, aged 61, was jailed today (April 26) at Stafford Crown Court, following a two-week trial.
The court heard there were complaints of rapes and indecent assaults from four victims, all in the Lichfield area, committed between 1977 and 1989.
Judge Jonathan Gosling, sentencing, said: “You must’ve thought you’d got away with these revolting crimes. Between the ages of 21 and 32 you had an unnatural interest in pre-pubescent girls.”
He added that Ashley’s victims had been riddled with guilt.
“They were dignified, courageous, modest and utterly decent. You showed not a scrap of remorse. You called them liars.”
The court heard Ashley indecently assaulted one of the girls when she was seven and raped her when she was eight. The abuse continued until she was 14 when she described herself as going ‘off the rails’ and taking to drink and drugs. She first disclosed the abuse to her partner.
Another of Ashley’s victims was abused between the ages of nine and 12. She told her husband years later.
Two other girls were indecently assaulted by Ashley when they were aged 12 and between 13 and 15 respectively.
Ashley, of Chadswell Heights, Lichfield, was found guilty of 14 charges: two counts of rape, ten counts of indecent assault and two counts of gross indecency.
He was found not guilty of one count of indecent assault.
Ashley was also put on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Detective Constable Jo Morrison, of Staffordshire Police, said: “Ashley preyed on these young and vulnerable girls and may have thought he’d got away with these offences.
“However, their bravery in coming forward and giving evidence is to be commended and has resulted in his imprisonment.”
“Many years have passed since these offences were committed but we will always do whatever it takes to bring offenders to justice, while ensuring victims and their families are offered the support they need.”
Anyone who has suffered sexual abuse, or suspects others may be subject to sexual abuse, is urged to contact Staffordshire Police on 101.
Alternatively, the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
Soured From Staffordshire Police