A man from Firle who befriended a vulnerable girl pupil at a school where he worked as a caretaker and sexually abused her for more than three years, has now been given a prison sentencing totalling 12 years following an investigation by police safeguarding detectives

Ian Ellingford, 51, a caretaker, now of Ripe Lane, Firle, East Sussex, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on 22 April, having been convicted of seven counts of rape and one of sexual assault against the girl, who was a teenager at the time of the offending between 11 and 13 years ago.

Detective Constable Suzy MacLintock said; “The girl was particularly vulnerable when Ellingford encountered her at the Brighton school which she was about to leave, but he continued to in effect groom her even after she had moved schools. He committed a series of sexual offences against her, knowing that she was at the time not in a position to readily resist him, subjected her to a series of assaults.

“Eventually she became sufficiently confident to disclose what had happened to her.”

If you or anyone you know is being subjected to sexual or other abuse, you can do something about it. See this link to the Sussex Police website showing how you can report, talk in confidence to experienced investigators, and get access to a range of expert support and advice.