A former taxi driver now living in Lancashire has been given a sentence totalling 26 years for a series of sexual offences against three young girls in West Sussex and Cleveland between 23 and 38 years ago. Neville Crouch, 63, was sentenced when he appeared at Hove Crown Court on Tuesday 3 March, having been convicted after a trial in December 2019.
He was convicted of assaults on a girl then aged between seven and 16 in Hartlepool and Littlehampton between 1982 and 1991, on a girl then aged between 12 and 16 in Hartlepool between 1993 and 1997, and on a girl then aged 12 in 1984 in Goring.
He will serve 21 years in custody plus a further five years on extended prison licence. Crouch will also be a registered sex offender for life.
The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by detectives from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit which began after information was received by police for the first time in 2017. Detective Constable Andrew Roe said: "Crouch, who lived and worked as a taxi driver in both Hartlepool and Littlehampton during the 1980s and 1990s, came to know his three young victims through family and friends, and ruthlessly took advantage of them for his own sexual gratification, against two of them over a period of years. "The victim of the offences in both locations, having suffered in silence for many years afterwards, eventually and very bravely found the resolve to come to us in May 2017. "We immediately began enquiries and traced the other two victims. We ensured that they had access to expert personal support and advice, and all three supported our investigation throughout and resolutely gave evidence at Crouch's trial, for which they have our admiration. "This is another example of the way in which, working with the CPS, we will always follow up such reports no matter how long ago the events were, and seek justice wherever the evidence will enable us to do so."
Image credit: West Sussex Police