Man found guilty of multiple historic sexual offences against children over nearly two decades
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A 53-year-old man has been found guilty of multiple sexual offences committed against children spanning nearly two decades in Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.
Andrew Mark Ditchfield denied the 45 offences, which included rape, indecent assault, and sexual assault, forcing the 14 survivors to give evidence during a two-month long trial at Derby Crown Court.
Yesterday (5 August) the jury delivered a unanimous verdict on all counts after deliberating for four hours.
Ditchfield’s offending began in 1992 when he started to target young people in Derby, going on to abuse them in houses, camp sites and leisure facilities.
In the early 2000s he moved to Lincolnshire but continued his offending across the eastern part of the county.
The scale of his offending was brought to light after a survivor reported their experiences to Derbyshire police.
A team of four officers set to work piecing together Ditchfield’s time in Derby and Lincolnshire – and found 12 boys and two girls who he had abused between 1992 and 2011.
He was arrested at his home in Fourways, Tetney, Grimsby and was charged, and remanded into custody in November 2020.
His denial of all the charges meant that the 14 survivors were forced to face the man who had left many of them suffering with depression, post-traumatic-stress-disorder, drink and drug addictions and, in some cases, attempting to take their own lives.
The jury in the trial believed the 14 survivors, and Ditchfield will be sentenced on 8 October. He remains remanded in prison.
Detective Sergeant Ritchie Parkins, who led the team of four officers investigating the decades of abuse, said: “The reason Ditchfield is now behind bars is due to the character and resilience of the survivors of his abuse.
“To stand in court and give evidence against this man who has caused such hurt is humbling and I cannot speak highly enough of every one of them.
“Ditchfield’s refusal to take any responsibility for the damage he wrought on these young people’s lives shows his utter disregard for anyone other than himself.
“However, the truth has now been found.”
DS Parkins added: “Survivors of abuse have understandable concerns when coming forward to report what has happened to them, however, I want to reassure anyone who may have suffered similar abuse that support is here for you.
“We work closely with partner agencies and have dedicated, specialist staff who will keep you updated and informed about the investigation.
“Even if you do not feel able to report abuse to the force you are still able to access support through agencies such SV2 – an independent charity who support survivors of sexual abuse.”
To find out more about SV2 visit: SV2 - Supporting Victims of Sexual Violence - Home or call 01773 746 115 and select option 1 for a 24/7 support line.