A MAN from South Tyneside has been jailed for a series of sex offences against young girls which date back over 30 years.
Ian Whitaker, 66, of Drake Close, Tyne Dock, South Shields, was a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy when he repeatedly abused two girls in the late 1970s and early 80s.
He was jailed for 18 months at Portsmouth Crown Court yesterday.
Whitaker, who will also be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years, had admitted one charge of multiple incident indecent assault and four charges of indecency with a child at an earlier hearing.
One of his victims was in court to see justice done after more than three decades.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she was disappointed by the length of the sentence, but felt the case had brought her some closure.
The judge said his hands were tied because the offences were committed so long ago.
Whitaker was living in Gosport, Hants, when he abused the two girls, who were then aged between nine and 12.
The court heard he gave the children cash and cigarettes to persuade them to let him carry out the abuse.
He told one of the girls he would kill her and hurt her family if she told anyone.
After the sentencing, his first victim, who is now in her 40s, said: “I feel that justice has been done.
“It’s a relief. But it’s annoying that the judge’s hands were tied.
“He deserved to get longer.”
She added: “This has ruined my life. Hopefully, now I can get on with my life.”
Whitaker was arrested last year after the first victim contacted the police.
The investigation led them to the second victim, and he admitted what he had done. Jeffrey Norie-Miller, defending, said his client felt deep remorse.
He said: “There has been no subsequent offending of any type. He accepts that it was unpleasant for them, and has had serious long-term impact.
“He does not seek to diminish that.”
Jailing Whitaker, Judge Richard Price said: “Over the period of three years, or maybe as long as four, you were sexually abusing these two young girls.
“Your abuse had a marked effect on both of them. It’s no exaggeration to say that you will have ruined their lives.”
Judge Price said he could not jail him for as long as he wanted because the maximum sentence for the offences at the time they were committed was two years, and he had to reduce that figure because Whitaker’s discount for pleading guilty.
He added: “I am restricted by what the law allows me to do with historic sexual offences. The sentence will sound wholly insufficient to punish you for the harm that you did.”
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