A PENSIONER who raped a 14-year-old more than three decades ago has been jailed.

John Chu gained the trust of his victim by working alongside her as a volunteer at a Whitecross church in the 1980s before sexually assaulting her in his car and raping her.

Decades later, the 74-year-old was handed nine years behind bars for his sickening abuse.

Liverpool Crown Court heard during a four-day trial last month that Chu met the girl volunteering at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and was also a member of the PTA at the school she attended – St Gregory’s Catholic High School.

Warrington Guardian:

St Gregory's Catholic High School - picture by Google Maps

He would give his victim lifts in his car, but on one such occasion pulled the vehicle over and indecently assaulted the teenager.

Months later, he gave her another lift home after the pair had completed volunteer work at the church.

Chu, from St Helens, claimed he needed to stop at a relative’s house and invited her inside, but nobody was home and he raped the girl before driving her home in silence.

The victim was finally able to report this abuse to the police in August last year, and Chu was found guilty of rape and indecently assault on Thursday, September 19.

He was sentenced to nine years in prison back at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, October 11 – and was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

Detective constable Danielle Fildes, who led Cheshire Police’s investigation, said: “Rape and indecent assault are horrific offences that affect people in the most profound way.

“John Chu, who was in his 40s at the time, gained the victim’s trust when they worked as volunteers at a church.

“When they were alone, he abused that trust by raping and indecently assaulting the teenage girl.

“I would like to thank the victim for the immense courage she has shown in coming forward to report the offences that occurred more than 30 years ago – I would also like to acknowledge the strength and courage she showed by going to court and giving evidence against Chu, something he forced her to do by refusing to accept his guilt.

“By pleading not guilty to the offences, he continued to show a blatant disregard for his victim.

“Whilst she will never be able to forget about what Chu subjected her to during her childhood, I hope that the significant custodial sentence he has been handed by the courts provides her with some closure and enables her to begin to move forward with her life.”

The force has also urged any other victims of historic sexual abuse to come forward.

DC Fildes added: “I also hope this case and the sentence that Chu has received encourages other victims of sexual offences to come forward and report them to us.

“Cheshire Constabulary takes any allegation of sexual offences extremely seriously, no matter how long ago they relate to.

“Any allegation will be thoroughly investigated, with the wishes and needs of the victim as our main priority.

“Victims should never feel ashamed to talk about what has happened to them.

“They will receive the help and support they need from our specialist officers, as well as from other support agencies we work alongside, and all victims of sexual offences have the right to anonymity.”

The NSPCC has also condemned Chu's 'vile and predatory' actions.

A charity spokesman said: “Chu’s vile, predatory behaviour left his victim suffering for decades, and her bravery in ensuring he could be brought to justice must be commended.

“By abusing his position of responsibility to rape a vulnerable young girl, Chu betrayed her trust and caused immeasurable emotional pain - and it is thanks to her courage that he has been imprisoned.

"This case shows it is never too late to report sexual abuse, no matter when it happened, to ensure justice can be done.”

Children can report abuse by calling Childline on 0800 1111, while adults with concerns can contact the NSPCC's helpline on 0808 800 5000.