Devon

Devon rapist who pretended to be ghost jailed for 26 years

Liam Clarke Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Clarke found out his victim had a bad experience during an Ouija board game and used that to exploit her

A rapist who manipulated a girl into having sex with him by pretending to be a ghost has been jailed for 26 years.

Liam Clarke knew she was terrified of evil spirits and used that to exploit her, Exeter Crown Court heard.

Clarke, 35, of Crediton, Devon, was convicted of four rapes, three assaults by penetration, sexual activity with a child, and eight counts of indecency or indecent assault.

Judge David Evans said: "Your offending across the years was monstrous."

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The court heard how Clarke's victim was petrified of the occult following a bad experience during an Ouija board game.

He made strange noises at night which left the 15-year-old girl terrified and pushed notes under her bedroom door claiming to be from the ghost.

Pretending to be the spirit, he then made threats to the teenager and told her the only way of getting rid of the demon was by having sex with him.

Sentencing Clarke, Judge Evans said: "She said she did not want to have sex with you but you threatened her repeatedly.

"You made deliberate use of her deep fear of ghosts and spirits."

Hide and seek

The offences took place between 1997 to 2016 in Torquay, Crediton and in Hampshire.

Clarke was arrested in July last year and found guilty at trial in March.

He also repeatedly abused two young girls in Southampton by putting coins in his underwear and getting them to play hide and seek.

Clarke was put on the sex offenders' register for life and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which restricts his future contact with girls.

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