A SELFISH rapist ‘took away the innocence’ of his young victim, who he repeatedly targeted.

Lance Buruka, of Partridge Close in Birchwood, was handed a lengthy custodial sentence at Liverpool Crown Court this afternoon, Tuesday, during which a judge branded his actions as ‘unforgivable’.

The 44-year-old Rwandan national subjected his victim – a young girl – to cross examination during a trial after denying charges of rape.

But he was subsequently found guilty in August of seven counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault on a child under the age of 13.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to two separate sexual assaults, as well as sexual offences entered as alternative charges to rape.

Owen Edwards, prosecuting, told the court how the offences came to light after the victim described to her mother what had happened to her.

On hearing the news, the mother said that ‘her whole world fell apart’. Support was offered by family members, her daughter’s school and the NSPCC.

She added that her daughter was too young to understand what she had been subjected to and that Buruka had ‘taken her innocence’.

Warrington Guardian:

Liverpool Crown Court

Katy Laverty, defending, could offer little in terms of mitigation of her client’s actions.

She said: “The defendant is finally starting to realise the enormity of his actions. He fully understands that he is facing a significant custodial sentence.”

The court heard how Buruka was ‘lightly convicted’, but among his previous convictions was the assault of his former partner.

Before sentencing, judge Neil Flewitt described the defendant as someone of ‘particular concern’ regarding the danger he poses.

He said: “You sexually attacked her and did so for your own sexual gratification. You told the author of your pre-sentence report that you were feeling lonely and wanted attention.

“She does not fully appreciate the scale of your offending. Her mother said that you have taken her innocence.

“She is likely to be profoundly damaged by what you have done to her. You were only concerned about your own satisfaction.

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“Your character references are of little value in a case of this gravity. They were probably written by people unaware of your offending.

“My view is that you do pose significant risk of serious harm to members of the public.”

Buruka was sentenced to 18 years in prison with an extended year on licence.

The parole board will decide if he is eligible for release halfway through this term providing he is no longer considered to be a risk.

Buruka was also told he must sign the sex offenders register and comply with a lifetime sexual harm prevention order.

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