A “wicked” Mansfield man looks set to die in prison after being handed a 22-year jail sentence for repeatedly raping a young girl in the 1980s.
Stephen Francis had denied all charges against him, but was found guilty by a jury following a trial at Lincoln Crown Court.
Sentencing Francis, Judge John Pini QC told him: “You have shown staggering depths of depravity and wickedness.
“There has to be a substantial sentence of imprisonment in this case.”
Francis, aged 64, of Laurel Close, Forest Town, was convicted of eight charges of rape and a further nine charges of indecent assault involving a young girl.
He was also found guilty of a single charge of indecently assaulting a second girl.
The offences occurred during the 1980s.
During his trial, he claimed the main prosecution witness against him had lied about what happened.
Francis, who had lived in the village of Saltfleet, Lincolnshire, was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life and was given an indefinite sexual offences prevention order.
Stephen Kemp, defending, said Francis was in poor health physically and mentally. He said “He has resigned himself to dying in prison. He has no hope and sees he has no future.”
Det Con Sally Stannard said: “Although there are no winners in a case like this I hope that the lengthy sentence imposed by the judge in this case gives some comfort to the victims, confirming that the justice system recognises the severity of the crimes committed against them.
“I hope that the culmination of the court proceedings can help them close this particular chapter in their lives.
“I commend them for their courage in coming forward to report these crimes and in turn ensuring that this man was brought to justice.”