Ian Crawford from High Wycombe, pictured, was aged 13 when he raped his first victim, a nine-year-old girl, in the 1950s in Manchester. He attacked his second victim, aged 10, in the 1960s and 1970s
A former RAF man who subjected two children to years of ‘disturbing and outrageous’ sexual abuse has been jailed.
Ian Crawford’s two victims waited half a century for justice, but have now seen the rapist put behind bars for 20 years.
Crawford, 76, was just 13 when he first raped a nine-year-old girl.
That campaign of abuse went on for years and only came to light decades later when the victim was in her 60s.
Crawford’s second victim was aged 10 when the he began sexually assaulting her.
He raped the child ‘repeatedly’ over several years before leaving Trafford and never having contact with her again.
Crawford – who continues to deny all offences – was found guilty of nine separate counts of rape of a child at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court.
He was sentenced to six years in prison for the counts concerning victim one, to be served consecutively to 14 years for the counts involving victim two – totalling 20 years, with an extended licence period of one year concurrent for each count.
Kayleigh Wiggins, of Greater Manchester Police’s Public Protection and Serious Crime Division, paid tribute to the ‘tremendous bravery and determination’ of the two victims.
‘What they have had to live with during all this time is utterly incomprehensible, but they were magnificent throughout this investigation in giving evidence and persevering throughout to ensure that this monster’s truly vulgar atrocities were recognised by the court and justice served,’ she said.
‘I have never quite seen such a disturbing and outrageous case of this nature and Crawford was a free man for far too long before this verdict; it is high time that he is recognised as the sexual predator that he is, regardless of how long ago it occurred.
‘These women were subjected to the most traumatic, abhorrent and humiliating experiences as little girls and it has impacted them for life.
‘I urge anyone who is particularly affected by this case to take strength from these two women’s courage and contact police in the strictest confidence.’
Minshull Street Crown Court heard how Crawford, from High Wycombe, subjected both girls to years of sexual abuse.
His offending spanned several years between the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
His first victim was sexually abused by Crawford for years before he first raped her, when she was just nine-years-old and he was 13.
The victim described to the jury how the offending went on despite her extreme upset and visible distress, police say.
It was only when Crawford left Greater Manchester to join the RAF that the girl stopped being regularly raped by him.
When Crawford moved back to Trafford in the 1960s, he began sexually assaulting his second victim – then aged 10.
She was raped repeatedly over several years before Crawford left the area and never had any contact with her again.
Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester, pictured, heard police were alerted to Crawford’s offending in 2018 when one of the victims came forward following a radio advert offering support for sexual abuse victims
Police became aware of Crawford’s offending in 2018, when the first victim heard a radio advert for a support programme for victims of sexual abuse called the ‘Truth Project’.
She disclosed her horrendous ordeals to the project and GMP launched an investigation.
Crawford was first interviewed in July 2018 and denied all allegations.
Later that summer the second victim came forward to speak of the traumatic experiences she had been subjected to by Crawford.
After she gave her account to detectives, Crawford was arrested once again.
He gave a no comment interview.
Crawford was charged in 2019 and denied all offences.
His case was delayed due to COVID-19 outbreak.
But he was found guilty on November 30 of nine counts of rape of a child under 13.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: ‘The impact of Crawford’s prolonged campaigns of abuse have affected his two victims for more than five
decades, but thanks to their courage he has now faced justice.
‘This case shows that no matter when an incident took place, seeking support can be the first step towards ensuring abusers like Crawford are held responsible for their appalling offences, and we hope these brave women are now receiving the support they need.’