A DISGRACED NHS manager was jailed for eleven years yesterday for sexually abusing a girl more than half a century ago.

Michael Redgrave took the seven year old schoolgirl to the room where he was a lodger in Dawlish, and repeatedly forced her take part in painful sexual ordeals.

He tried to rape her twice but the pain was so great that she screamed and he stopped because he was worried about his hosts hearing the noise.

Redgrave, now 73, remained undetected until the victim went to the police in 2018 after spending a lifetime trying to bury the secret.

She had only told very close friends and her husband previously before making a disclosure to a counsellor. Her husband had challenged Redgrave in a Facebook message and he had not denied the abuse.

Engineer Redgrave went on to enjoy a career as an NHS manager which ended in disgrace when 80 child abuse images were found on his work computer at Sarum Road Hospital, Winchester.

It led to him being dismissed and jailed for a year and four months in 2007. Some of the images depicted abuse which was almost identical to that which he had inflicted on his victim many years earlier.

Redgrave, of Crewkerne, Somerset, denied two attempted rapes and five other sexual offences at Exeter Crown Court but was convicted by a jury.

Peter Coombe, prosecuting, said Redgrave was a lodger at the house in Dawlish in about 1967 while studying at technical college at Torquay. He took the opportunity to befriend and abuse a little girl who was living in the same property.

He started by taking the child to his room and a pattern developed in which she began visiting it. He scared her into agreeing and to remaining silent by telling her she would be in trouble if anyone found out.

The abuse continued on a regular basis while he remained at the house and continued on one occasion after he moved out and on a boating trip during which he tried to rape her in a rowing dinghy.

Mr Coombe said Redgrave would have been aged 17 to 20 at the time.

He said: ‘He told her this was their little secret and she should not tell anyone.’

She told police he abused her about 100 times in all and at times he demanded that she perform oral sex on him.

The victim said in a statement that she had buried the abuse for decades and it had affected her marriage.

Patrick Mason, defending, said Redgrave had been the victim of 'cruel abuse' by his own father and said: ‘His future is very bleak.’

Judge David Evans said most of the abuse happened when Redgrave was aged 17 and ended a year later when his 'behaviour was close to being exposed'.