A man extradited from Australia accused of raping and sexually abusing a girl has been convicted by a jury at Bradford Crown Court and today jailed for 12 years.
Christopher Hardaker, 63, threatened to track the child down and burn her alive if she reported him to the police.
Bradford-born Hardaker was living in Dalyellup in Western Australia until he was arrested, held in custody for 72 days and extradited to the United Kingdom in April last year.
On Friday, he was found guilty of four offences of rape and three of indecent assault, dating back almost 40 years.
The survivor of Hardaker’s abuse stood up in court to read out her victim personal statement in front of the jury and the packed public gallery.
Speaking of all paedophiles, she said: “They can run as far as they like in the world, but they will be found.”
During the trial, she told how Hardaker groomed her, sexually assaulted her and began raping her when she was 13.
In her statement, she said: “He was a volatile person who controlled and manipulated me.”
He groomed and programmed her, leaving her isolated from her family and friends.
She had self-harmed, had suicidal thoughts and felt robbed of her childhood, innocence and self-worth.
The woman said she still felt shame, pain, loneliness and devastation.
She had suffered a breakdown after she reported the abuse, telling the court: “It takes a lot of effort to keep a lid on rape for 40 years.” Hardaker had said: “Who will believe scum like you over me?”
He had threatened to burn her alive if she ever reported him.
“I have finally been believed and today my voice has been heard,” she said.
Judge Jonathan Rose said Hardaker groomed his young victim with tickling and touching before going on to violently sexually abuse her.
She was in an emotional and vulnerable state when he acted out of “pernicious, perverse and perverted” motives.
When she was 13, he began to rape her, violating her multiple times for about a year and boasting that he had “a magic touch” with her. The girl vomited when he forced her to have oral sex, an offence that would now be charged as rape.
Hardaker had later moved to Australia, living with his second wife who had no idea that he had been an active paedophile.
“While you lived the good life, she has lived years of torment,” Judge Rose said of Hardaker’s victim.
Although she was intelligent and a woman of faith, she had described herself as “ruined and beyond repair.”
Judge Rose found that the “persistent and frequent” abuse had left her with severe psychological damage.
Hardaker must sign on the sex offender register for life and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order was made without limit of time.
After Hardaker was taken to the cells, Judge Rose asked Mr English if he would be allowed to return to Australia after he had served his sentence. Mr English thought that he would.