Paedophile rapist who groomed vulnerable schoolgirl jailed for 26 years

Craig Knight
Craig Knight
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A dangerous sex offender who subjected a young girl to years of vile abuse has been jailed.

Craig Knight, 31, preyed on the vulnerable schoolgirl when she was just 12-years-old, and travelled from Surrey to Lancashire to abuse her.

On June 7 2017, officers from Lancashire Constabulary attended an address in Blackpool following concerns about Knight's welfare. When they arrived at the house they became concerned about the relationship between Knight and a 16-year-old girl who called him her boyfriend.

She later told police she had been sexually abused by Knight for several years.

Knight, of HMP Preston, was arrested, and continued to target his young victim while on bail, committing a number of crimes against her and a male her age.


On June 9 he vandalised the man's car by filling the exhaust with expanding foam and scratching the paint.

He returned the next day armed with a gas powered pistol, a bottle containing petrol, flame proof gloves and a knife. He was intercepted by his victim's friend and his father before he was able to cause any serious harm.

At a trial at Preston Crown Court, Knight was convicted of five counts of rape of a child under 13, three counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of affray, witness intimidation, possession of a knife, possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and two counts of theft. He pleaded guilty to criminal damage before the trial.

Judge Sara Dodd ruled Knight was a dangerous offender and imposed an extended sentence for public protection, at Preston Crown Court.

She handed him 17 years, with a four year extended licence for the sexual offences against the girl and four years with an extra year on licence for the violent offences, to run consecutively. She also made Knight the subject of a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order and put him on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Det Con Paul Moon, of Lancashire Constabulary's Awaken Team, said: "This young woman was groomed by Knight for a number of years.

"Knight took advantage of her vulnerability and that of her family to put himself in a position of trust. He abused that trust and when he realised he was losing control of his victim, used threats of violence and weapons to intimidate her.

"This was a very frightening and traumatic experience for this young woman, who has had her teenage years taken from her by this dangerous and predatory individual. She has shown extraordinary courage in coming forwards to testify against Knight. I hope today's sentence brings some comfort and she is now able to start rebuilding her life."