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Man found guilty of raping a child following trial

A 37-year-old man has been found guilty of multiple non-recent sexual offences, including the rape of a child.

Simon Wheaton, of Saltlands in Bridgwater, was found guilty at Taunton Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 23 June) of five offences, including:

  • Inciting a boy under fourteen years of age to commit an act of gross indecency
  • Indecent assault on boy under the age of 14 years
  • Indecently assaulting a boy, under 14, on at least two further occasions after that.
  • Rape of a boy under 16 years
  • Rape of a boy under 16 years, on at least two further occasions.

In the early 2000s, Wheaton sexually abused a nine-year-old boy, including committing multiple rapes upon him.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, disclosed the abuse to girlfriends over the years before finally opening up to a counsellor, who agreed to report the matter to the police on his behalf.

Officers worked with the victim to complete a thorough investigation, including speaking to the victim’s former partners and other witnesses.

In a statement, the victim said: “I was only a child when Wheaton did what he did to me. He took advantage of me being young and trusting. He took advantage of this, using it to get what he wanted from me, to abuse me.

“He made me feel like it was my fault, that I would get into trouble, that I had no choice in what happened to me. He calculatedly used thing after thing to keep me under his control, taking away from me my dignity, my trust and my life.

“It destroyed my trust in people, my ability to emotionally connect with them, to be able to open up. The last 18 years of my life were stolen from me, by what he did to me.

“I wish I had spoken to someone sooner, but I spent too much of my life hating myself for what he did to realise that I was the innocent one.”

Wheaton will be sentenced at Taunton Crown Court in August.

Investigating officer, DS Charlie Pulling said: “I would like to thank the victim for coming forward and showing incredible bravery by disclosing the awful abuse he suffered at the hands of this predatory paedophile. Wheaton showed no remorse for his actions towards a child who trusted him.

“I would like this result to give victims of similar crimes the confidence to come forward and speak to the police so we can help get them the justice they deserve.”

Officer in the case, DC Charlotte Hodgkiss, added: “I hope this shows other survivors of serious sexual assault that it is never too late to come forward and speak out. We recognise the courage it takes, and this is a prime example of justice being served.”

If you are a victim of sexual assault or rape, recent or non-recent, you can self-refer to The Bridge, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre available 24/7, 365 days a year. Visit their website at www.thebridgecanhelp.org.uk or call 0117 342 6999.

You can also visit www.thisisnotanexcuse.org.uk for details of charities and organisations who are experts in supporting victims.