Justice came calling for a Manchester man more than four decades after he abused a girl in Abingdon.

Jailing Jeffrey Phillips for five-and-a-half years at Oxford Crown Court on Friday, Judge Nigel Daly said: “You indecently assaulted this child, you did it repeatedly.”

The 71-year-old, now of Walkden, Greater Manchester, was found guilty by jurors in June of indecently assaulting the girl between 1972 and 1978.

The assaults began when the child was still in primary school, stopped for a number of years, then resumed briefly when she was in her early teens.

Phillips began preying on the child when he read bedtime stories to her, the court heard. It culminated several years later with him getting the girl to perform a sex act on him.

Judge Daly said of the earlier ‘bedtime’ sexual assaults: “That went on for a number of years. Eventually it stopped but then a couple of years later you did it again on another occasion.”

Sentencing him, the judge told Phillips: “I must remember that when these offences were committed the maximum sentences were significantly less than they are now and I am confined to those maximum sentences.”

It meant that crimes that today would carry a maximum punishment of 14 years’ imprisonment were, in the 1970s, worth as little as two years’ behind bars.

Phillips will be on the sex offender register for life.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

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