Paedophile who raped children in Stevenage and Hitchin jailed

PUBLISHED: 16:23 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 20:09 29 June 2018

Nicholas Day, 32, who has received an extended prison sentence of 29 years. Picture: Herts police

Nicholas Day, 32, who has received an extended prison sentence of 29 years. Picture: Herts police

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A “persistent and systematic” paedophile who groomed and raped children as young as seven years old was today given an extended prison sentence of 29 years.

Nicholas Day, from Letchworth, raped a 12-year-old Stevenage schoolgirl in a car park after grooming her online and picking her up from school after lessons – and years after the abuse ended, contacted her again over social media.

Day, 32, insisted he had been confused for somebody else with the same name over the Stevenage crimes, and said his subsequent vaginal and anal rape of a girl aged seven in Hitchin “simply didn’t happen”.

But a jury at Luton Crown Court found him guilty of 16 charges, following a nine-day trial – and Judge Barbara Mensah today gave him a sentence that will see him remain on licence until 2047.

Judge Mensah imposed a sentence of 13 years for the offences relating to the Hitchin girl, and 10 years for the crimes in Stevenage. She added six years’ extended licence “to protect the public”.

Day, who stood without apparent emotion in the dock, will have to serve at least two thirds of his 23-year prison sentence before being considered for parole.

Sentencing Day, Judge Mensah said he had taken advantage of the Stevenage girl’s “extreme youth” to abuse her in “the most sordid of circumstances”.

“The evidence against you was overwhelming,” the judge told him.

“You brainwashed her into being fearful of reporting or leaving you.”

She went on: “Eventually you were arrested for all the matters, but you put the victims through the further trauma of having to submit evidence to the court and being accused of lying.

“That you are dangerous is beyond doubt.”

Angela Kerner, defending Day – who had steadfastly denied his guilt – told the court he had now accepted culpability and was remorseful. But Judge Mensah rejected this.

“I think this has come rather too late,” she said.

“It seems to me from your devious nature that this claim of remorse and insight into culpability may be an attempt to ensure the court does not impose a life sentence on you.

“I do not accept that you are truly remorseful.”

The court heard Day had previous cautions indicating sexual interest in young girls, and that search terms had been found on his phone about sexual activity with seven-year-olds.

In an impact statement read to the court by prosecutor Richard Witcombe, the younger victim’s mother said Day had “taken away her innocence”.

“This is going to affect her for the rest of her life,” she said.

“I just hope that because she is so young the memories of what he did to her will fade with time.”

She added that the young girl’s personality had changed, and that during one of numerous violent breakdowns she had shouted: “Mummy, what if they don’t believe me?”

The victim’s mother concluded: “I hope for the future she doesn’t let this affect her future relationships, and doesn’t let the evil things Nick Day did to her affect her life.”

The offences began in 2009, when Day contacted the Stevenage girl on the social media site Myspace.

He falsely told the 11-year-old he was 17, when he was in fact twice her age – and they regularly messaged each other until meeting in person when she was 12 and he was 23.

During the trial, the court heard Day drove to Stevenage to meet her when she came out of school, having been “grooming the 12-year-old girl with the clear intention to meet her for sex”.

He began to regularly drive her to a Stevenage car park after lessons and get into the back seat with her. She initially resisted his advances, but relented when Day said he “loved her”.

This became a regular occurrence. When the girl tried to protest, Day would claim they were in a relationship and threaten to “find someone else”.

He carried out more sexual acts on the girl, and had full sex with her two months before her 13th birthday – something that then happened frequently.

The abuse ended by the time the girl was 14. One afternoon Day turned up to meet the girl in his car as usual, but she told him: “No, you are a paedophile. I don’t want to go with you.”

Mr Witcombe told the court that authorities became aware of concerns about Day around this time after the girl made a disclosure, but she decided not to pursue action against him.

Four years later, Day contacted the girl again through social media. This prompted her to go to police, at which point they arrested Day – who told officers he didn’t know the girl and that they had the wrong man.

He was bailed, and while awaiting trial he continued to sexually abuse the second young girl.

Then, in March this year, a chance remark to a friend by this second victim led to her family’s discovery that Day had sexually assaulted and raped her when she was seven and eight years old – possibly grooming her from as young as five, Judge Mensah said.

Court proceedings covering his abuse of both girls followed, culminating with Day being jailed this afternoon.

Day, of Wilbury Hills Road in Letchworth, was convicted of eight counts of rape of a child under 13, two further charges of rape, attempted rape of a child under 13, three charges of assault of a child by penetration, meeting a child following sexual grooming, and sexual assault of a child under 13 by penetration. Nine charges related to the Stevenage girl, and seven to the other victim.

In addition to his prison sentence, he will also be subject to a lifelong sexual harm prevention order among other things forbidding him to have any contact with children under 16 whatsoever, or to possess any device capable of accessing the internet without adhering to strict conditions.

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