March 2019

Paedophile bus driver raped a little girl

A paedophile bus driver who raped a little girl sobbed in court today when finally he was jailed thanks to her bravery.

Martin Willcocks subjected his victim to a sickening campaign of abuse from the age of six yet convinced the vulnerable child it was completely normal.

The 50-year-old, of Westhead Avenue, Kirkby, molested the young girl, and sexually abused her.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the now adult victim tried to kill herself as a result of the “horrific” ordeal she suffered at his hands.

But Willcocks shook his head as she described how she refused to let him get away it and summoned the courage to contact police.

Louise McCloskey, prosecuting, read a statement in which the victim said she came forward in January 2017 to protect other children.

The woman, who sat crying in the public gallery, said: “He was a bus driver and the idea that he would have had kids on his bus scared me.

“The thought of him being in prison, away from me and other kids gives me massive relief.”

Willcocks, who worked for Huyton Travel Ltd, denied two counts of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child.

He first stood trial last August, when jurors were unable to reach verdicts, but was convicted on all counts by a majority of 10-2 after a second trial last week.

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, said the second jury was shown a photo of the victim as a “delightful, pretty and altogether innocent” young girl.

He said: “What the picture doesn’t show is that by then you had begun to sexually abuse your victim. You regularly and systematically touched up this little girl.”

The judge said his abuse escalated and, referring to one sickening act, added: “This must have been a truly horrific experience for such a young child.”

He said: “You were able to carry on abusing her year after year because she was so young and because you told her this was normal behaviour.”

Judge Menary said Willcocks groomed his victim but also subjected her to “bullying” and when she complained at the time to an adult, she was not believed.

However, he said after she attempted to end her life, she went to the police, then in evidence gave “a strong and confident account of herself and your offending”.

The judge said: “This perhaps gives a glimpse of the potential there is in that young woman. She has survived that ordeal.”

Willcocks, who will be on the Sex Offenders Register for life, also repeatedly shook his head throughout the judge’s sentencing remarks.

He covered his face with his hand and sobbed when jailed for 16 years, with an extended two years on licence, as an Offender of Particular Concern.

The type of sentence means Willcocks will serve at least half of the term – eight years – behind bars, before he is eligible for parole.

He will then only be released on licence before the end of the entire sentence if he is no longer considered to be a risk to the public.

Judge Menary also made an indefinite restraining order to protect his victim, who thanked four jurors who had returned for the sentencing.