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6 June 2016, 17:20
A man from Dunstable has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for 'sickening' sexual abuse carried out against two women over a number of years.
John Burden, 49, of Maidenbower Avenue, was convicted of nine counts of rape and sexual abuse today (Monday) following a two week trial at Luton Crown Court.
Burden abused the two women over a period of time in the 1980s and 1990s; grooming them from when they were young and raping them both while they were under the age of 16.
He then continued to inflict abhorrent sexual abuse against them for a number of subsequent years.
During the trial, the jury also heard how Burden would sexually assault the women as a punishment if he was unhappy with something they had done.
Detective Inspector Jenni McIntyre-Smith, who led the investigation, said:
"First of all we want to thank the women for the bravery they showed in coming forward. It's been incredibly difficult for them to relive the harrowing experiences they suffered at the hands of Burden but hopefully today's guilty verdict and sentencing will help them move forward.
Burden's abuse of these women was sickening, and no-one should have to suffer such atrocities. He groomed them both from an early age before taking advantage of their trust and inflicting appalling abuse on them.
We are committed to investigating all reports of sexual abuse, no matter how long ago they happened, and I hope this gives other people who have experienced sexual abuse in the past the confidence to come forward and report it, so that we can make sure that their abusers face the consequences of their actions.
Tackling the sexual abuse of children is a key priority for our force and we are continuing to work closely with our partner organisations in order to encourage people to come forward to report abuse and help prevent it from happening in the first place."
In total Burden was found guilty of five counts of rape and four counts of sexual assault.
The 20 year sentence, plus five years on license, will commence after he has served the four remaining years of his sentence for violent disorder, which he received in January.
If anyone has any concerns or information following the court case, they are asked to contact the Op Cresta team at Bedfordshire Police on 101.
An NSPCC spokesman said:
"The horrific experiences both these women endured has no doubt left a long lasting impact on their lives.
This case is a tragic example of what sexual predators can do to children who are too fearful to speak out.
Burden was convicted for his crimes decades later, which shows how cunning offenders can be.
Today shows complaints will be taken seriously and that criminals like Burden can be held to account, however long after abuse has happened.
For help and support children can contact ChildLine 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0800 1111 or by visiting www.childline.org.uk."