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James Mitchell jailed for 19 years for raping boy

A man already serving life for “an unrelenting journey of sexual abuse” of children has now been jailed for 19 years for similar offences committed with another young victim.

James Mitchell, a former chairman of Sittingbourne Christmas Lights Association, was handed a minimum term of 14 years in October 2012 for a catalogue of offences involving two girls and two boys.

The latest sentence will not add to his time behind bars as he will serve half - nine-and-a-half years - in custody.

James Mitchell has been convicted of a new sex offence
James Mitchell has been convicted of a new sex offence

The 61-year-old, formerly of Invicta Road, Sheerness, continues to maintain he is innocent of all of the charges levelled against him.

A jury convicted him at Maidstone Crown Court last month of the repeated rape of a boy.

The victim told in a police interview in April 2015 how Mitchell forced himself on him and he was too shocked to fight him off.

“He just wouldn’t stop,” he said.

“I tried and tried to get him off me but he just wouldn’t move. There was nothing I could do.”

Mitchell denied eight rape charges. He was cleared of four of the offences.

"You robbed that child of his childhood... you controlled and manipulated him to maintain his silence" - Judge Philip St John-Stevens

The abuse was reported by the victim three years after Mitchell was jailed for 26 offences - three of rape eight of indecent assault, three of sexual activity with a child, one of gross indecency and 11 other serious sexual offences.

They were committed by Mitchell from the age of 16 or 17 and spanned almost 40 years.

Sarah Morris, defending, said there had been a delay in the latest offences being reported to the police and in the matter being prosecuted.

“It took the police eight months to visit him in prison and a further year to charge him,” she said.

“The court should bear that heavily in mind.”

Miss Morris added Mitchell had suffered heart attacks earlier this year and he was taking 13 different forms of medication.”

Judge Philip St John-Stevens told Mitchell: “It was an unrelenting journey of sexual abuse by you.

“Justice caught up with you for the previous offences, save for (the latest victim) who had the courage to come forward.

“You controlled him and told him you would go to prison and his family would not love him if he told anyone, that his family would hate him.

Judge Philip St John-Stevens
Judge Philip St John-Stevens

“He said you would do it whenever you got the chance. Sadly, he reflected in this way: ‘I just grew up thinking it was normal.’

“It didn’t stop until you were arrested.

“He describes the profound effect your offending had on him, to such an extent he felt worthless and self-harmed, and reflected on whether he should continue to live.”

Judge St John-Stevens said he was satisfied Mitchell was dangerous and he would not be released until the parole board was satisfied he no longer posed a risk.

“It was sexual abuse in the most extreme form,” he continued.

“You robbed that child of his childhood. You controlled and manipulated him to maintain his silence.”

Deep and abhorrent anguish was left in the victim’s mind. Mitchell had shown no remorse, the judge added.

Run by volunteers, Mitchell joined the Christmas Lights Association in February 2008. He was appointed chairman in 2010 and his last involvement was in January 2011.

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