A mother made a shocking discovery in the form of a ‘rape diary’ while she was sorting through her daughter’s room.
The sickening abuse had happened a decade before but the then-7-year-old victim didn’t tell anyone apart from the diary about the abuse she suffered for 9 months at the hands of Dale Gavin Smith.
The case went straight to South Yorkshire Police in the UK in 2011 but it has taken over 5 years to get a conviction after the diary was accidentally destroyed.
It wasn’t until another victim came forward that police re-opened the case, using photocopies of the original diary.
The paedophile has finally been sentenced to 15 years for three counts of rape, two of indecent assault and four counts of indecency with a child.
A relative of the victim, who’s now in her 20s, released a statement on behalf of her family:
"I am pleased that he is finally behind bars where he belongs, thanks to the current investigation team, but disappointed that it has taken nearly six years. I'm also disappointed that the original diary disappeared as it was a crucial part of the evidence."
“At the time she thought what was happening to her was normal and never told anyone but wrote about it in her diary," the relative added.
"Her mum found it when she was tidying her daughter's room one day, and couldn't believe her eyes. Every parent wants to protect their children and she finds it really difficult knowing she hadn't realised what was happening."
Details of the case have only been made public after the conclusion of a second trial involving his other accuser, in which he was cleared.