A 37-year-old man has been jailed for 11 years for the “depraved and wicked” sexual abuse of a young girl while he was high on drugs.
Steven Baxter tried to rape the 13-year-old child more than 15 years ago after repeatedly indecently assaulting her from when she was aged 11.
He was convicted by a jury at Bradford Crown Court of five counts of indecent assault, four of indecency with a child, and one of attempting to rape a girl under 16.
Yesterday, Judge Jonathan Rose said Baxter’s victim was a vulnerable child in need of love and affection.
The abuse began on a group night camping trip to fish in the canal when Baxter and his friends were drinking and taking drugs. Inflamed by lust, he sexually abused the shocked and scared girl in a tent.
“It was a revolting and disgusting scene which sadly had to be graphically painted in this court,” Judge Rose said.
The girl told a friend what Baxter had done but it was not reported to the police.
Baxter told the jury he would take cannabis and ecstasy on night camping trips when he was aged 19 to 21. He said others took LSD, amphetamine tablets and magic mushrooms.
Judge Rose said that getting away with it the first time made Baxter “bold and depraved” and he went on to sexually abuse the girl at a flat in Windhill, Shipley, where he was living at the time.
Baxter, of Valley View, Baildon, groomed her by bringing her a book on horses before making her commit sex acts on him.
His offending against her culminated in a “vile and despicable” act of attempted rape.
The judge said the girl suffered a mental breakdown and tried to kill herself.
She suffered mental health, drug and alcohol issues and thought she was beneath everyone else.
“When you treated her as a sexual commodity she lost all sense of her own worthiness,” Judge Rose said.
Baxter did not have the courage to admit his offending and his wicked lies had dragged the unhappy pasts of witnesses into the public domain.
After the case, Detective Chief Inspector Gail Lawrie, of West Yorkshire Police’s rape investigation team, said: “Baxter took advantage of his victim when they were alone and tried to force himself upon her.
“Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness in which both the police and courts view such offences, and I would like to thank the victim for her bravery in coming forward.”