A PAINTER and decorator who repeatedly raped and sexually abused two children has been jailed for a quarter of a century.
Harry Fickling, 67, will be 92 years old before he can be considered for release from prison, Durham Crown Court heard.
Fickling used a screwdriver on one of his victims, and two unknown implements on the other child, prosecutor Sarah Mallett told the court.
“The first victim bled heavily,” added Ms Mallett. “The other victim was too traumatised to look at what was being used upon her.
“One of the victims was about 10 when the abuse of her began in the early 1980s.
“The other victim was eight when she was first abused by Fickling in the early 1990s.”
The court was told the abuse took place in various locations, including behind Peterlee leisure centre, and in a lane beside the A19. Both victims said their main reason for coming forward was to prevent other young girls suffering as they had.
“I’m relieved he is now in prison,” said one. “I have been in his prison for the last 20 years.
“I’ve been labelled a liar and a slag, but now everyone knows I was telling the truth and it is Harry Fickling who is the liar.
“He is disgusting and vile. I pity him, he deserves to be punished for what he has done.” Fickling, of James Street, Easington Colliery, was convicted by a jury of five charges of rape and 12 charges of indecent assault.
Christine Egerton, defending, said: “He still denies the offences, so there is nothing I can say in mitigation.”
Judge Christopher Prince praised the victims for their courage in coming forward to give evidence.
“It is thanks to you, men can be called to account for what they have done, even decades ago,” said the judge.
Jailing Fickling for 25 years, Judge Prince told him: “You are an articulate, intelligent, amusing, plausible and convincing man.
“You cynically used that character to achieve your sexual aims.
“You accused your victims of lying, but they told the truth and it is you who is the liar.
“The fact you will be in custody or on licence perhaps until the day you die is entirely due to their exemplary conduct in this case.”
Fickling was banned forever from contacting his victims by any means.