A man, previously from Stratford, has been jailed for 28 years after an Essex Police investigation into an historic child sexual abuse case.

Keith Ruggles, 75, appeared at the Basildon Crown Court on Thursday (April 18) where he was sentenced by a judge who called him out as a “dangerous” individual.

A probe was launched in June 2022 by Essex Police’s Child Abuse Investigation Team after a report of a non-recent sexual abuse against a child was sent to officers.

Ruggles was said to be in prison serving a 21-year sentence for a separate sexual offence investigation at the time of the report.

Investigations revealed that Ruggles had sexually abused the victim on multiple occasions that started when she was just a 9-year-old.

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By January 2023, after consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, Ruggles was charged with rape of a child under 13, three counts of assault by penetration of a child under 13 and sexual touching of a child under 13.

He pleaded guilty to all counts when he appeared in the court in March 2023, and was later sentenced to 28 years in prison to run concurrently with his previous sentence at Basildon Crown Court on April 18.

The judge ordered him a minimum of 20 years out of these, which means that he won’t be eligible for parole until he is 96.

Essex Police’s victim impact statement described the impact the offences had on the victim who, it said, used to lock herself in her room and not speak to or be around anyone.

She added: “The emotional effects on me are long lasting and wide ranging.

“I have now gone through some therapy that has helped me to connect to my feelings. Initially, I didn’t want to do this. I have kept this dark, horrible secret for so long.

“All I wanted to have, was a normal childhood which he stole from me.”

PC Jane Grieve, who managed the investigation within the Child Abuse Investigation Team, said the victim conducted herself with dignity throughout the probe.

“No one should ever have to go through this, and I hope that she is able to put this horrific ordeal behind her, knowing that Ruggles will be behind bars for an extremely long time”, she added.

Deputy Superintendent Neil Pudney of Essex Police encouraged others to come forward to report non-recent sexual offences.

He said: “At Essex Police, we are achieving better results than ever when it comes to investigating non-recent sexual offences.

“I hope, that if this is read by anyone who may think that too much time has passed to report what happened to them, that this isn’t the case. Please report and we will continue to work closely with our partners to support you”.