March 2011

Man jailed for sex assaults

A 62-year-old man has been jailed for a series of sex assaults on a young girl around 20 years ago.

Ralph Slade, of Wootton, was jailed for four years in total, having been found guilty at a previous hearing of five counts of indecent assault and admitting another count. He was cleared of a further similar count.

His victim, who cannot be named, said after the case: ” It has been a painful year waiting for a weight I’ve been carrying all my life to be lifted. Some of my worst times now have a positive ending.

“I feel like this is the first day of the rest of my life. I’m really happy I can start afresh. I can learn to live again without fear. It will be a relief to walk out of my front door and not worry about seeing Ralph Slade.

“I was too scared to go out because seeing him around on the Island all the time made me feel he was freer than I was. I’d had enough.

“I’m so grateful to my partner and family for their tireless support. I could not have gone to the police without them. Going through the courts has been a long process but I would like to tell other sexual abuse survivors seeking justice to stay strong because it will be worth it in the end. Taking time to talk about your experiences is the best healer.

“I’d really like to thank the police and particularly Det Sgt John Stirling. He’s always been there for me, and it’s brilliant how he’s able to put you at ease.”