A RAPIST has been jailed for eight years for a string of sex offences that date back to the early 70s when his victim was six or seven-years-old.

Bar worker William Ashton, 54, from Breccia Gardens in Parr, initially preyed on his victim when she was a child, resuming the abuse when she reached 16 or 17.

She was one of three women to come forward to make complaints about sex attacks between 1972 and 1985.

Ashton was acquitted of abusing the other two.

He was convicted by a jury at Croydon Crown Court of two sample counts of indecently assaulting the victim in Cantrill Farm, Liverpool between 1972 and 1974 then two counts of indecently assaulting her again and raping her at an address in Sutton, south west London between 1982 and 1985.

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry told the court: “This rape took place at the end of a lengthy period of grooming which started when she was six or seven-years-old.”

Ashton, who was acquitted of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl at Liverpool Crown Court last year. claimed that the complaints were an “invention” and “false allegations.

But each denied lying adding that it was very difficult to come forward after so many years.

Ashton was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register indefinitely.