A man who raped and sexually assaulted several victims in the 1970s has been jailed.
Stephen Bowden, 61, of Parbold Avenue, St Helens, was given 15 years at Liverpool Crown Court today after being found guilty of the historical sex offences.
The court heard how Bowden took away the confidence and self-esteem of one of his victims, leaving them scarred for life.
In a victim impact statement, read out to the court, one of his victims said: “Following the abuse I suffered, I have found it hard and had no self-esteem or self-confidence. I find it so hard to communicate with confidence, I hate to be the focus of attention. I found it hard to make friends, I don’t have any close friends.
“Because of what you did, I now find it hard to communicate with others and I am always anxious about what people are going to think of me. I hate to be the focus of attention and don’t like walking into a room with people I don’t know in. I rush and have to push myself to find myself getting to places early just because I don’t want to ask if it okay to sit there.
“You caused all of this, you took all of my confidence and self-esteem away. I can’t believe that I have to go through all the stress and worry of giving evidence in open court, when you could have just admitted your guilt and saved me all this unnecessary stress and worry.”
Merseyside Police welcomed the sentence and commended Bowden’s victims for their bravery in coming forward.
Detective Inspector Terry Davies said: “Bowden’s victims have shown an immense amount of bravery coming forward.
“Specially trained officers and lawyers in Merseyside Police’s Unity team have been by their side throughout the investigation and trial to provide support and to ensure their evidence was presented to the court and to see justice being done.
“Time should never be a barrier to obtaining justice and I hope today’s sentence gives his victims some sense of closure and vindicates their decision to come forward.
“Merseyside Police takes every report of sexual offences extremely seriously, whether or not they are recent, and has dedicated officers within the force’s Unity Team who are specially trained to both thoroughly investigate allegations and make sure that those reporting them are properly supported.
“I would like to take this opportunity to reassure anyone who has suffered a sexual offence that if you can find the courage to come forward and speak to us, we will deal with you sensitively and make sure that reports are properly and thoroughly investigated.”
Residents can call officers in the force’s specialist Unity team on 0151 777 1382 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.