A MAN who sexually abused a young girl in Eastbourne in the early 1990s has been convicted after a seven-day trial and sentenced to a total of 22 months imprisonment.

John Lockyer, 76, of Bolton Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court today, having been convicted the previous day on two counts of indecently assaulting the girl.

One of the counts related to his offending on 20 occasions.

He will be a registered sex offender for 10 years and was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) severely restricting his access to girls under 17 until further court order.

Lockyer was acquitted on nine other counts of indecently assaulting the girl, and two offences of gross indecency against a boy.

Pauline Harrop, 77, of Seaside, Eastbourne, was acquitted of two counts of gross indecency against the same boy.

The prosecutions, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by detectives from the East Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit after information was received in 2017.

Detective Constable Jo Barber of the East Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit said; “Lockyer, who had a financial business in Eastbourne, was also a freelance music teacher and organist at a church, St Andrews of Norway in the town, and met the victim who attended the church.

“He took advantage of the young girl for his own sexual gratification for some time, causing psychological trauma and damage which lasts to this day. Only when the she felt strong enough to come forward and disclose the full details in 2017 did our detailed investigation uncover what had happened.

“We very much admire her courage and resolution in coming forward and supporting the investigation.

“This is another example of the way in which we will always investigate such reports, no matter how long ago the events were said to have been and will seek to support victims and help them secure justice wherever possible.”

The victim, who was a teenage girl at the time and is now in her forties, said: “Reporting this crime has finally brought about closure for me after a long road to recovery and healing. I now have a future to look forward to without this hanging over me or holding me back anymore. I can only say the biggest thank you to Sussex Police, and to DC Jo Barber in particular, for supporting me through this process so well and for making me feel looked after at every stage.
“I have met some amazing people who have all helped me on my way forwards and who I will never forget. Although this has been an extremely tough and long process I don’t regret making the decision to come forward and report for a moment.”

If you have been a victim of sexual offences, or know someone who has been, there is no need to suffer in silence. You can contact the police at any time and arrange to speak to experienced investigators, who can also arrange access to sources of specialist support