A FORMER prison officer has been jailed for 12 years after raping a young girl more than 100 times.
Christopher Pearce, 68, carried out the abuse 20 years ago when he began indecently assaulting the girl when she was six, and started raping her from the age of 10.
He confessed to his crimes after learning that the woman had tried to take her life.
Pearce, of Warkworth Terrace, North Broomhill, was a respected member of the community and worked at Acklington Prison.
On January 2, he walked up to a police car in Amble and told officers: “I want to confess to child abuse 20 years ago.”
He admitted to between 100 and 200 rapes and a series of indecent assaults.
In a statement setting out the impact of the abuse, the victim said: “This has affected my whole life.
“I have had this secret for my whole life and I’m not able to have a proper relationship with a man.”
Newcastle Crown Court heard that as well as the abuse, Pearce also made the girl watch pornography.
After speaking to her on New Year’s Day and finding out she had taken an overdose, Pearce decided to own up. He confessed to his wife, then went out looking for a policeman to hand himself in.
Amanda Ripon, prosecuting, said: “He found a police car going about its business in the street in Amble, near where he lived.
“He said, ‘I want to confess to child abuse 20 years ago’ and said he had raped her.
“He accepted he must have raped her 100 to 200 times over about five or six years. He couldn’t explain his actions, but said he needed to confess to make sure she got closure.”
In mitigation, Julie Clemitson, defending, said: “He made an extraordinarily unusual step in removing the need for the victim to report what happened, by approaching the police himself.
“This is something the court will not often see.
“He is very remorseful, he has lost all that he had.
“He had a long respectable working life and now his family have disowned him.”
Sentencing Pearce on Friday, Judge Esmond Faulks said as a former prison officer, Pearce’s time inside would be particularly onerous.
As well as the jail term, Pearce was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life and was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order.