'A Scar on the Soul of the Community': Fareham child abuser jailed for 26 years
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A child abuser whose offending left a ‘scar on the soul of the community’ in Fareham has been sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Stephen Lovelock, aged 61, was charged with 15 offences relating to the abuse of a girl in Fareham, following an investigation by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary’s Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT):
Two counts of rape of a child under 13
One count of attempted rape of a child under 13
Two counts of sexual assault of a child under 13
Three counts of sexual activity with a child
Four counts of assault by penetration of a child under 13
Two counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity
One count of taking indecent photographs of a child
He denied the charges, but was convicted of all of them on 14 July this year at a trial which took place at Portsmouth Crown Court.
The court heard that Lovelock, of no fixed abode, abused the child over a number of years between 2015 and 2022, beginning when the child was under the age of 13.
The girl bravely found the courage to report this to police in April 2022 and Lovelock was arrested two days later following enquiries.
At Portsmouth Crown Court today (Friday 1 September), His Honour Judge Ashworth told the court that what the jurors heard during the trial leaves “a scar on the soul of the community”, before jailing Lovelock for 26 years.
DC Vicky Osborne, from the CAIT team, said: “The abuse suffered by this poor girl was appalling, and I commend her for her incredible bravery in coming forward to the police while she was still a child.
“Lovelock is a horrendous and predatory individual who ensured that this young girl endured further suffering by denying his crimes.
“This investigation, led by DC Hannah Owen in the CAIT team, has led to a dangerous man being convicted, and this is testament to the unwavering bravery of the young girl involved.
“Her courage throughout this investigation and the subsequent trial process has now resulted in Lovelock being sentenced to a lengthy time in prison.
“I hope the outcome of this case reassures other survivors of abuse that you will be listened to and believed, and we will do everything we can to support you and bring those responsible to justice.”
If you have been affected by child sexual abuse you can contact police on 101 and speak to a police officer in confidence.
We recognise that not everyone has the confidence to speak to police, but there are support services available that can help you if you are a victim of abuse.
Anyone who has experienced abuse in childhood or is concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline confidentially on 0808 800 5000 or email [email protected]. Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111.