A 102-year-old man has been sentenced for sexually abusing a young girl from the age of five in the 1970s.
A judge suspended Douglas Hammersley’s two-year prison sentence but ordered him to pay his victim £25,000 compensation within 21 days.
He had pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault against the victim, who was between five and eight years old at the time.
Aylesbury Crown Court heard that the abuse took place in the Buckinghamshire area around 40 years ago.
The victim, now in her 40s, finally reported Hammersley to the police after his family threw him a 100th birthday party that was reported in a local newspaper.
She was praised for her bravery and courage during the sentencing hearing on Monday.
Hammersley, who was excused from attending, was given a two-year suspended prison sentence, placed on the sex offender register and ordered to pay £25,000 compensation and £3,500 costs.
Judge Francis Sheridan said: “To award compensation is wholly unusual in a case like this but the young victim has carried this cross of abuse for year upon year upon year.
”She very properly complained to anyone that would listen. She has waited a very long time for justice but I hope justice is what she has got.
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“She was telling the truth the whole way through, from the first complaint to the last. For that I applaud her for her steadfastness in getting justice.”
The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, sat in court during the sentencing hearing.
“You are a brave woman and I applaud your determination to get justice,” Judge Sheridan told her.
“I hope now you can leave feeling that ultimately you have been vindicated for persevering and hope you have seen justice done.”
Hammersley, of New Malden in Surrey, said he had no memory of the time around the attacks in 1977 and 1979.
He was interviewed at home under caution after the victim reported the abuse to Thames Valley Police in October 2015, but originally pleaded not guilty to the charges before admitting them as a trial was being prepared in July.
Jennie Laskar-Hall, senior crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern, said: “We were able to prosecute Hammersley thanks to the victim coming forward, even though the offences were committed more than four decades ago.
“Hammersley was determined to put his victim through a trial by pleading not guilty. His defence team also claimed he was not fit to stand trial and provided two expert reports in support of this.
“We successfully challenged this evidence by providing our own expert report that he was fit for trial and the judge accepted our argument. Following the fitness to plead argument he admitted his guilt.”
Additional reporting by PA