Former taxi driver jailed for more than seven years for raping Suffolk schoolgirl

Ipswich crown court building

Mark Ryan was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A former Suffolk taxi driver who raped and sexually assaulted a schoolgirl has been jailed for seven years and eight months.

Sentencing 50-year-old Mark Ryan, Judge Emma Peters described the victim as “vulnerable” and said she had been “stunned and shocked and frozen with fear” when he assaulted her.

Ryan, of St James’ Court, Haverhill, was found guilty by a jury after a trial at Ipswich Crown Court last month of two offences of oral rape and one of assault by penetration by 10-2 majority verdicts.

He was found not guilty of a further offence of oral rape, a further offence of assault by penetration and an offence of sexual assault.

He had denied all the offences which were alleged to have been committed in the early part of 2009 when Ryan was 39.

In addition to being jailed Ryan was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and was ordered to sign the sex offenders' register for the rest of his life.

Ryan was also banned from contacting the victim until further order.

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The court heard that the offences Ryan was convicted of took place at his home on the same day within a short time of each other when the victim was in her early teens.

In an impact statement read to the court by the victim she accused Ryan of “taking her childhood away”.

She said Ryan had threatened to harm her if she told anyone what he’d done and she was still scared of him to this day.

Giving evidence during the trial, Ryan, who has no previous convictions, denied having any sexual contact with the girl.

He accepted being a Facebook friend with her and talking to her about problems she was having at school but denied taking advantage of her and then securing her silence by threatening her.

He said the girl had turned up unannounced at his home and after the second time he thought she might have a crush on him and had nipped things in the bud.

The prosecution alleged that Ryan contacted the teenager on Facebook after meeting her through his work as a taxi driver and had arranged for her to go to his former home in Feltwell Place in Haverhill, where the offences were committed, to do household chores for him.

Richard Kelly, for Ryan, said the offences related to a single incident over a brief period of time.

He said that after the victim made a complaint in 2019 there was a delay of more than a year before Ryan was charged.

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