September 2019: Released and active on Facebook

April 2010

EastEnders story helps convict Devon paedophile

A child rapist from Devon has been jailed for 13 years after his victim was inspired to contact police by an EastEnders storyline about a paedophile.

A jury found Frederick Hanmer, 55, of Ashburton, guilty of four counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday.

He first abused the girl, now in her 20s, when she was seven, jurors heard.

The court was told she had kept silent for more than a decade but decided to speak out after watching the BBC soap.

The programme featured a storyline involving a young girl being sexually abused.

The court heard that the victim had spoken out about her abuse when she was a young child but had then retracted her allegations.

However the court was told that Hanmer, of Higher Roborough, also raped and abused her when she was a young teenager.

He denied the offences in court, claiming they were “wicked lies”.

The victim told the court that her life had improved as a result of speaking out about the abuse.

“It has lifted a lot off me. I’m relieved, which has made me happier,” she said.

“Before I spoke out, I was very angry and bit off people’s heads for practically no reason.”

Speaking after the case, Det Sgt Neil Ralph, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “The victim saw the episode of EastEnders and it was like what had happened to her.

“It gave her the impetus to come forward.

“This does indicate that no matter how long ago offences occurred we will thoroughly investigate them.”