Notts paedophile who raped eight-year-old girl is jailed

Convicted: Mark Whitehead
Convicted: Mark Whitehead

A man from Bulwell has been jailed for 16 years after raping a terrified Sutton schoolgirl when she was eight.

Mark Whitehead, 29, of Hucknall Lane, also admitted a string of other sex offences against the girl over a two-year period, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, still suffers nightmares.

Judge Stuart Rafferty told Whitehead: “You should be ashamed, and I hope you are.

“It is difficult to describe what you perpetrated against this wholly innocent child. You exploited her in a way no child of any age should be.

“It is perfectly apparent that you sought sexual gratification in a wholly inappropriate way, and used her. It was systematic and repeated. She may never fully recover.”

David Outterside, prosecuting, told the court that the abuse started when the girl was aged only seven. It came to light when she complained to her mum, and the police were called in.

In a video interview, the girl told officers: “He has been all over me. I tried to stop him, but he kept carrying on. I couldn’t move him away because he was too strong.”

The girl also told how the man hurt her. Video footage of her naked was even found by her mum on her mobile phone. It had been filmed by the man and sent to the girl.

Mr Outterside read statements to the court from the mum and her daughter.

“The emotional impact has been devastating,” said the mum. “I have been suffering from depression, and this has tipped me over the edge. I have been unable to cope.

“It has had massive consequences. The pressure on the whole family has been huge.

“I wanted my daughter to grow up in her teenage years without worries. He has ruined so much.”

The girl’s statement read: “I would like the judge to know how I feel. I find it difficult to get to sleep at night. All I can think about is him. I have had to go to the doctor’s, and sometimes I have nightmares about him.

“Before he was taken to prison (on remand), I was scared he would come and take me.

“My teacher says I am the bravest girl she knows. I haven’t recovered and I haven’t forgotten, but I feel I am coping better.”

The court heard that Whitehead originally pleaded not guilty. But positive results of sperm-stain tests added up to “overwhelming evidence” that persuaded him to change his plea just before a trial was due to take place.

Whitehead also pleaded guilty to a charge of producing cannabis after 12 plants were found in the loft at his home. He was jailed for 12 months, to run alongside the 16-year sentence.

The judge said: “You knew what you had done and yet you chose to plead not guilty to prolong the agony.”