Jailed: Man who raped Wigan girl, 13, on way to school sentenced to eight years

By Gemma Lee

A man who pounced on a 13-year-old Wigan girl while she was on her way to school and raped her was jailed for eight years today.

Paul Fenner, of Hope Street, Astley, attacked the girl on June 18 and subjected his victim to what was described as a ‘terrifying’ ordeal.

He was arrested and charged within four days of the assault and pleaded guilty at court less than three weeks later.

Detective Inspector Damian Simpson from GMP’s Serious Sexual Offences Unit said: “This young girl suffered a horrific attack at the hands of Fenner and genuinely feared for her life during her traumatic ordeal. 

“People in the nearby area were utterly shocked to hear what had happened to a young girl from their community as she was simply walking to school that morning, and we received a huge response from the public who wanted to do all they could to help us find her attacker.”

“I hope Fenner’s young victim can today take some solace from seeing him put behind bars for a long time for what he did to her and that she can now try to move on from what happened that morning.”

Elizabeth Reed, Branch Crown Prosecutor at CPS North West said: “Paul Fenner subjected his young victim to a terrifying ordeal as she walked to school.  

“She has shown tremendous courage in coming forward to the police and giving evidence.   

 “It is thanks to her evidence, the assistance provided by witnesses and the thorough investigation by the police that we were able to charge him quickly.”

Fenner has been ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life and received a lifetime ban prohibiting him from working with children and vulnerable people. 

“Together the police and CPS have built a strong case which left him with little option but to plead guilty at an early stage,” said Ms Reed.

“Consequently we have been able to secure his conviction promptly without the victim needing to give evidence in court.  

 “Thankfully stranger attacks such as this are rare but I hope today’s sentence will reassure the local community, and particularly the young victim in this case, that the man responsible for this attack has been brought swiftly to justice and will now be serving a substantial prison sentence.”

DI Simpson pointed out that there are a number of specialist support services available for victims of rape and sexual abuse, which are offered from the first point of call.

This support can help victims through the police investigation and court process, and is available afterwards for as long as the individual feels they need the help of those services. 

“This case highlights just how seriously we take allegations of rape and sexual abuse and I hope others who have suffered such abuse are encouraged to come forward and report it to police,” he said.

Fenner was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court today.

If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted call Greater Manchester Police on 101, or alternatively people can refer themselves to St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 0161 276 6515. 

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