‘Vile’ rapist cries as he is sent down

Jailed: Christopher Croston
Jailed: Christopher Croston
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Christopher Croston, 31, was deemed so dangerous he will serve an extended four-year licence period when he is released.

He cried in the dock at Preston Crown Court as Judge Christopher Cornwall said the rape was a “vile offence” which had caused the 14-year-old “incalculable” harm. The teenager had been walking home one evening in September because she didn’t have the money for her bus fare.

Croston approached and chatted to her in Ribbleton Avenue, Preston, before hauling her down a flight of steps near the RSPCA shelter and raping her.

The court heard the girl had been left too frightened to go out unless it was daylight. Specially trained officers told the girl and her mum of the sentence at the family’s home in Preston.

Today her mum told the Evening Post: “Knowing that justice has been done and time will be served offers some consolation, but what he did to my daughter will live with her and me forever For that, I will never forgive him.”

Karen Brooks, prosecuting, told the court the girl and her friends had been to Waverley Park around 7pm on September 30. An hour later, the trio walked to a bus stop on Ribbleton Avenue.

Her two friends got on the bus but she didn’t have any money, so she started walking home.

The defendant, who was standing nearby, asked her for a lighter. She said she didn’t have one. Croston talked to her, asking how old she was and if she had a boyfriend.

The girl replied she had, hoping he would leave her alone. But the defendant walked alongside her and continued with his questions.

As they got near a shop, he put an arm around her waist and pulled her down some steps leading on to a field, continually talking about being her boyfriend and saying how beautiful she was.

He pushed her and she fell over, landing on her back. He then pinned her to the ground and raped her, telling her to “shut up” when she tried to scream.

Croston fled after being disturbed by a noise. The sobbing youngster made her way home and was seen by a boy she knew from school who walked her home.

Croston was arrested at his family home in Carlisle Avenue, Netherton, Liverpool, after his DNA was found on the girl’s underwear.

Paul Lewis, defending, said: “He has genuine shame as to what he has done. He says he spends his time in custody depressed, crying every night and trying to come to terms with what he has done.”

The judge told Croston: “One can only try to imagine how appalling it was for this girl. You raped her. You left her, an utterly callous thing to do. This is a terrible crime. Life will not be the same for her now.”

Croston will be on the sex offenders register for life.