A 75-year-old man who committed child sex offences in Melksham has been jailed for 15 years.

Andrew Hammond, of Weymouth, was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on Friday June 14 after pleading guilty to nine counts of non-recent child sex abuse.

The offences included rape, engaging a child in sexual activity and causing a child to watch/look at an image of sexual activity.

Hammond committed the offences in Melksham between 2005 and 2008 while his victim was under the age of 10. Over a two-year period, he sexually abused his victim numerous times.

Det Con Karen Haddrell said: “Firstly, I would like to praise the victim in this case for the courage she has shown in disclosing her ordeal initially to a family member, and then to the police.

"Without her bravery in providing statements we would not have been able to put this case before the courts – especially as her statements and third party material was crucial to the case due to there being no forensics opportunities.

"This would no doubt have been an incredibly distressing and upsetting time for her.

“The ordeal Hammond subjected her to at a young age when she should have been enjoying her childhood is completely indescribable. He groomed his victim while she was a vulnerable child and I am pleased that he will now serve a 15-year prison sentence.

“This type of crime is completely deplorable – it is impossible for me to say how this man’s behaviour has impacted on his victim and the affect it will continue to have on her life; however, I hope this lengthy prison sentence will help her move on in some way from the abuse she has suffered.

“This case is another example of how committed we are in fully investigating crime, regardless of how much time has passed since the incident.”

To report sexual abuse please phone police on 101 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Victims can also seek support and counselling from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) based at the New Swindon Sanctuary - they can be contacted on the 24-hour helpline 0808 168 0024.

The NSPCC Helpline can also be contacted on 0808 800 5000, by anyone seeking support and advice.