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Man jailed for eight-year abuse of young girl

A Horsham man has been given a 24-year sentence for the systematic abuse of a vulnerable young girl.

The judge said it was the worst case of its kind he had ever heard. It involved seduction, rape and physical violence on the girl from the age of 13 until she was 21.

Richard Koch, 41, a handyman, of Canberra Place, Horsham, was sentenced when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Friday of last week. He had previously been found guilty of 23 offences, including rape, sexual assault, assault, and incitement to engage in sexual activity.

Koch pleaded guilty to three offences of possession of indecent images of children, none of which were of the victim of the abuse, and was found not guilty of one sexual assault on her.

He was given a total of 24 years, the first 19 of which will be served in custody, and he will not be able even to apply for parole until he has served 16 years. Even when he is eventually released, the further five years will be spent on licence.

Koch will also be a registered sex offender for life and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last indefinitely, severely restricting any access to young girls.

The victim was subjected to an eight-year series of horrific sexual offences and physical abuse, from the age of 13. This included hitting her with paddles, tying her up and half-strangling her, at addresses in Horsham.

In sentencing Koch, Judge Paul Tain said: “This is the worst case of single sex abuse I have ever had to sit through”.

Detective Constable Dan Richardson of West Sussex Investigations said: “Koch met this girl when she was just 13, seduced her and dominated her life for eight years. He regularly subjected her to sexual assault including rape, sustained physical violence and other personal humiliations.

“So dominated did she become that only in 2012 when she was 21 did she feel able to break off contact and start to lead her own life. Two years later we became aware of her experiences through a third-party in whom she had confided, and with the agreement of both parties we were able to carefully develop a full picture of what had happened to her.

“This has now culminated in Koch being given a very long term of imprisonment and other measures to help prevent him re-offending. The victim is still receiving support and counselling.

“This shows that we will always investigate every case wherever possible, no matter how long ago they may have occurred, to seek justice and support for the victims. Nobody should have to suffer abuse – if you find yourself in such a situation, call us on 101 and arrange to talk in confidence to experienced investigators.”

Sources of further advice are also available at https://sussex.police.uk/advice/protect-yourself-and-others/advice-for-children-and-young-people/.

The victim has made it clear through police that she does not wish to comment or speak to media about the case.

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