A Blackpool man has been jailed for 22 years after he was convicted of raping a five-year-old child.
Scott McLellan, 34, preyed on the youngster for five years subjecting her to horrific sex attacks on a regular basis.
This young woman was very brave in coming forward and I praise the strength of her and her family throughout this time.Det Con Mike Ellis
His sickening crimes were only uncovered when the girl told friends what had happened to her in her primary school years and she was encouraged to tell her school.
Police and social workers were called in as the girl gave a tearful account of the abuse she had suffered.
Det Con Mike Ellis, of Lancashire police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “This young woman was very brave in coming forward and I praise the strength of her and her family throughout this time.
“When she reported the offences she was very upset but was glad to be speaking out.”
McLellan, of Mardale Avenue, South Shore was arrested the same day but denied he had abused the little girl.
His victim was put through the further ordeal of having to give evidence against her abuser at a trial at Preston Crown Court.
Now, after the jury found him guilty of seven counts of rape, McLellan, who before his arrest worked at a biscuit factory in the resort, has been jailed for 22 years with a five-year extended licence.
The charges reflect seven separate incidents recalled by his victim but the court heard the abuse was systematic over a number of years – only stopping when she was 10.
Det Con Ellis said: “The ramifications of what has happened will stay with McLellan’s victim for the rest of her life.
“They will be far-reaching and will affect her emotionally.
“It is important that the sentence is significant.
“She and her family have shown great strength throughout the process of bringing McLellan to justice.”
As Judge Stuart Baker handed down the sentence, McLellan showed no emotion but members of his victim’s family hugged each other as he was led away to begin his sentence.