A man who systematically sexually abused a young girl was jailed for eight years after a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court.
Keith Gray, who began abusing the girl when she was just seven years old, was told by Judge Simon Hirst that the sentence would have been longer but the law meant he was restricted by the maximum sentence in place at the time the offences were committed.
The judge, passing sentence, said: “It is clear your victim has been profoundly affected by your abuse of her which was carried out for no other reason than for you to gain sexual gratification for yourself.
“The offences for which I have to sentence you took place many years ago when the the maximum sentence was considerably lower than is now available and at a time when the sentencing climate was less than it is now.
“I must sentence you in accordance with the sentencing regime applicable today not at the time of the offences. However I am limited by the maximum sentences at the time of the offences.
“I am constrained by the maximum sentence at the time. If not the sentence would be higher.”
Gray, 65, of Fen Road, Metheringham, admitted eight charges of indecent assault committed between September 1983 and December 1987.
In addition to being jailed he was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Mark Watson, prosecuting, told the court: “The victim was systematically abused by this defendant when she was a child. It started when she was aged about seven.”
Mr Watson said that Gray repeatedly touched the girl over a three year period. He also forced her to perform a sex act on him on a number of occasions.
The offences first came to light when the victim revealed what had happened to her mother and her sister.
The victim, who is now in her 40s, received counselling and in April last year made a complaint to police about what happened.
Mr Watson said: “The defendant was arrested. He gave limited admissions saying that on one occasion he asked her to touch him but he otherwise denied the rest of his behaviour.”
Sunil Khanna, in mitigation, said: “These are offences he accepted occurred at what he calls a very dark time in his life when his thinking was distorted.”
He said that Gray has since shown remorse for what he did.
“He now acts as carer for his father who is 91 years old,” said Mr Khanna.
DI Dave McKean said: “This man being sentenced to prison is a clear message that there is no escape for offenders. That the crimes were committed in the 80s was not a barrier to conviction. We would like to commend the bravery of the victim and hope that this brings some closure to her ordeal.”