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A Lichfield man has been jailed for raping and indecently assaulting girls in the 1970s and 1980s. Anthony Ashley, aged 61 and of Chadswell Heights, was jailed for 22 years after a two-week trial at Stafford Crown Court. The court heard there were complaints from four victims, all in the Lichfield area, over crimes 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.” Ashley 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. He was also put on the sex offenders’ register for life. 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. 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. Judge Gosling said: “They were dignified, courageous, modest and utterly decent – you showed not a scrap of remorse. You called them liars.” Detective Constable Jo Morrison, of Staffordshire Police, also paid tribute to the bravery of the victims: “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.”

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.