Man jailed for 12 years after subjecting young girl to years of sexual abuse

A 41-year-old man has been jailed for 12 years at Northampton Crown Court following a campaign of sexual abuse that left his victim suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Michael Hetherington, formerly of Daventry, was convicted of a total of 17 counts of child sexual abuse, including sexual activity with a child, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and making indecent images of children.

The reign of abuse began in May 2014 and continued for three-and-a-half years until his female victim eventually disclosed it to a safeguarding officer at her school.

The girl, who was only 13 when the abuse started, was later diagnosed with PTSD and experienced frequent panic attacks and episodes of self-harming, the court heard.

His Honour Judge David Herbert sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment of which he will serve at least eight years before being considered for parole.

In addition, Hetherington was placed indefinitely on the Sex Offenders’ Register and was also handed an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Speaking after sentence, Detective Sergeant Tom Curlett-New, who led the Northamptonshire Police investigation, said: “Hetherington subjected his victim to years of sexual abuse which has had a devastating impact on her.

“She showed great courage in coming forward to disclose the abuse and, as a result, Hetherington has now been locked up for a very long time and will no longer pose a serious risk to young girls.

“Northamptonshire Police always investigates allegations of sexual abuse, regardless of how long ago they took place, and this case serves as a reminder of that.”

Northamptonshire Police takes reports of sexual abuse very seriously and will always treat reports of this nature with the confidentiality and sensitivity they deserve.

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