A child abuser who thought he had got away with it has been brought to justice after he assaulted a second victim 40 years later.
Ex soldier Richard Pook raped and molested his first victim when she was aged ten to 13 in the late 1970s, but terrified her into silence by threatening to cut her throat.
He was a truck driver at the time and carried out one rape in the cab of his lorry. Others were in houses he visited in Torquay.
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The victim of the 1970s offences moved away from Devon as soon as she was 16 and remained silent until the burden of coping with the memory of abuse became too much.
She went to the police in 2012 and Pook was traced and interviewed. He denied all the offences and a decision was made not to prosecute him at that time.
The case was only reopened when he assaulted the 17-year-old in July 2018. Pook was staying in the same house in Torbay. She awoke to find him in her room and touching her between her legs.
Detectives found records of the first victim’s 2012 complaint and re-interviewed her before prosecuting Pook for both cases.
Both victims made impact statements which were read out before Pook was jailed for 19 years at Exeter Crown Court.
The first said the abuse has ‘broken’ her, ruined her life and led to string of failed relationships and other personal problems. She is now receiving counselling and coming to terms with her past for the first time.
She said: ”As a child, I had no control. Now I feel I am taking back that control and I am not the scared little girl I was before.
“If I had not been abused, I would not have moved from Devon. I believe it led me to a pattern of self-destruction. It is only now I feel I can close that chapter and feel lovable.”
The second victim says she still feels vulnerable, upset and described reporting the abuse and giving evidence as ‘the hardest thing I have ever had to go through’.
Pook, aged 74, of Gershon Road, Paignton, denied three counts of rape, two of unlawful sexual intercourse and six of indecent assault against the first girl and one of sexual assault against the 2018 victim.
He was jailed for 19 years with a two year extended licence by Judge Peter Johnson, who declared him to be a dangerous offender and put him on the sex offenders’ register for life.
He told him: “You started offending when the girl was ten and you repeatedly raped her and sexually assaulted her. You threatened to slit her throat if she told anyone.
“The effect on her has been considerable, as I have heard in her personal statement today. Many years later, you sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl when you thought she was sleeping.
“Her disclosure led to the earlier allegations being discovered and you being brought to justice.
“You maintained your innocence despite the complaints of two wholly unconnected victims. The mitigation of remorse is not available to you. In the probation report, you repeat your denials.
“When the subject of sexual offending was raised, you refused to discuss it, just dealing in general terms about your attitudes to paedophiles, of which you are one.”
Mr Lee Bremridge, prosecuting, said the first offences happened more than 40 years ago and only came to light in 2012.
They were not acted on until the second complaint was made in 2018.
The victim of the 1970s offences then made a new statement detailing the abuse she suffered which included rape and oral rape.
Mr William Parkhill, defending, said Pook had lived a hard-working and law-abiding life apart from these two episodes and that he will be too old to pose any risk by the time he is released from jail.
After the case, investigating officer DC Alicia Smith said: “I want to commend the bravery of the victims in coming forward and reporting this abuse.
“I very much hope that sentencing today will allow them to move forward and provide some closure.
“This has been a difficult investigation but justice has been served and Pook will be in prison for a long time.”