Paedophile spends just one week in prison for abusing seven-year-old girl
A paedophile who sexually abused his seven-year-old neighbour over three years only served one week in prison.
Vernon Platt, now 89, admitted abusing Jayne Mahgagahbow for three years from the age of seven and was sentenced to one year behind bars.
But his sentence was later reduced to a suspended sentence because of his age – meaning he only served one week in prison.
Jayne, now 53, was warned as a child not to tell anyone or her parents would go to prison.
The mother-of-five finally drummed up the courage to report Platt to the police over four decades later following a chance encounter with a childhood friend on Facebook.
Jayne is now bravely speaking out to support other victims of childhood abuse and tell them it is never too late to get justice.
Jayne, from Stockton-on-Tees, said: The main thing I wanted was to be believed and for Vernon to be convicted, but I was gutted when I found out his sentence had been reduced.
What kind of punishment is that?
He has been able to live his life while I have suffered. He should have served the time.
For years and years I have felt he had got away with it.
The judge mentioned his age but that shouldnt have anything to do with it.
Jayne was first sexually assaulted in 1972 when she was seven-years-old and Platt was in his 40s.
The abuse stopped when Platt moved away from the village where they lived in Hutton Rudby, North Yorkshire, with no explanation.
Jayne got married in 1988, when she was 32, and had two children but the years of abuse she suffered took its toll on their relationship and they divorced in 2000.
Jayne re-married in 2003 to her second husband, Juan, and had another three children and remained silent for more than 40 years about the abuse.
It wasnt until she came across a childhood friend on Facebook and the abuse came flooding back to her that she found the strength to report him to the police.
Platt, from Cold Bath Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, admitted five counts of indecent assault at Northallerton Magistrates Court.
He was sentenced to a year in prison but just one week later, Jayne received a phone call to say Platt was appealing his sentence.
In June, this year at Teesside Crown Court the judge ruled his sentence was to be reduced to eight months, suspended for 18 months – meaning he was free to leave prison after just one week.
Jayne said: I carried a lot of shame around with me because of it.
It made me feel so dirty. It was a horrible secret I couldnt share with anyone.
It affected my relationships. I struggled to be touched and I remember having to drink a lot to be able to be with anyone in a romantic way.
I am upset Vernon has kept his freedom, but he has lost his good name and I was believed – that is enough.
I want other victims to know they have nothing to be ashamed about and should contact the police about their abusers.
They will be believed.