A 26-year-old who raped a 12-year-old girl from West Suffolk has today been jailed for eight years.
Oscar Fitzgerald, of Lowestoft, pleaded guilty to three counts of raping a girl under 13 at a hearing at Norwich Crown Court on Friday 4 December.
Police were contacted around 8.40pm on Wednesday 2 September by the girl’s mother, who lives in West Suffolk, who reported that she had last seen her daughter at 5.45pm and had concerns that she had been communicating with older men online.
Officers began a missing person enquiry with searches being started in the vicinity.
Around 9.15pm the 12-year-old texted her mum to say she was back in the area and was walking home.
She was then spoken to by police and told officers that she had been raped. She said she had been picked up by a man she had been in contact with on social media and had then been driven to Lowestoft where she had been raped before being driven back.
She gave limited details about the man involved including his first name, the colour of the car he drove, his phone number and that she had been taken to a two-bedroom house in the town. She also said they had been to a petrol station on route.
Police checks and enquiries over the next few hours quickly led to Fitzgerald and he was arrested at his home in Church Road around 2am on Thursday 3 September.
As he remained in custody, police spoke to the young victim and discovered that she had only made contact with Fitzgerald on September 2 and he had been aware that she was only 12.
She described arriving at the address and being told to go upstairs. She was then raped, despite her telling him to stop, before being driven back and being dropped at a bus stop not far from her home.
Forensic evidence found at the scene supported the girl’s account, as did other enquiries made by officers.
In interview Fitzgerald refused to answer any questions put to him but, thanks to the victim’s account and the supporting evidence gathered by police, he was charged and put before court on September 5.
Today, Friday 5 February, he has been sentenced to eight years in prison. He will also be placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.
Officer in the case DC Stephen Clarke said; “I would like to commend the courage of the victim in this case who, despite being driven to the home address of Fitzgerald and subjected to an abhorrent crime, provided officers with an immediate detailed account.
“It was this prompt action that led officers being able to identify and detain Fitzgerald at his home address.
“As a result we have been able to remove a dangerous sexual offender from the street.
“The Operation Gemini team work tirelessly to bring offenders to justice and would like to urge any victim of sexual crime to report to the police.”