A Daventry man has been jailed for 14 years for a series of sexual crimes against a young girl.
Aaron Thornhill, aged 28 and of Roderick Way on the Headlands, appeared before Northampton Crown Court on Thursday December 8 for sentencing after being found guilty following a trial in November of 10 counts including sexual assault, sexual assault by penetration with an object, and rape.
As he passed sentence, Recorder Mr Christopher Donnellan said Thornhill had engaged in a “degree of grooming” to lead his victim to accept his behaviour which he said had progressed over time from sexual touching, penetration with an object, and finally to rape.
He added that the victim had appeared in court before the jury to answer questions, and had to watch her recorded interviews again.
A victim personal statement given by the victim’s mother due to her daughter’s young age, was read out to court. In it she said: “She gets upset if me or my partner leave her alone.
“She won’t sleep with any light because she says if the lights are on people will find her.”
She added her daughter panicked if she thought she would see Thornhill, and one time wet her self in fear.
Her mother continued: “As her mother I feel that I should have been able to protect her from this, to keep her safe.”
Mr Donnellan said that in passing sentence he had considered the good character evidence provided on Thornhill’s behalf during the trial.
Thornhill was told he will serve half his sentence before being considered for release by the parole board. When he is released he will be on licence until 15 years after his sentencing date.
The court also handed him an indefinite sexual harm prevention order governing his contact with any girl under the age of 16.
Detective Constable Irene Clifton who led the investigation on behalf of Northamptonshire Police, said: “This has concluded a long and difficult period for the victim and their family, who now feel they can begin to rebuild their lives in the knowledge that justice has been done and Thornhill is behind bars.”
Thornhill’s offences did not take place through his job at a children’s nursery in the town, nor through his role with a taxi firm. Daventry District Council, which licences taxi drivers in the district, said: “Mr Thornhill’s licence to operate a Hackney carriage in Daventry district was suspended in April 2015, after Northamptonshire Police contacted the council to inform us of the criminal investigation. The council has decided not to renew the licence.”