A WOMAN who carried out sexual abuse of a child has been jailed for 12 years.

Sandra O'Rourke, who pleaded guilty to a catalogue of sexual offences, was told her ‘depraved’ abuse had robbed the victim of their childhood.

The 47-year-old faced a total of 13 offences, two counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, seven counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and four sexual assaults on a child.

Sentencing her this morning, Judge Stephen Ashurst said the youngster was repeatedly abused before her sickening behaviour was brought to light.

“The victim was told by you that they would never be believed and they were threatened by you. You told them you would deny what you had been doing until your dying day,” he said.

“The victim has flashbacks and feels they will never be able to forget what happened.”

Teesside Crown Court heard how the victim has been left traumatised by the abuse suffered at the hands of O'Rourke, of Harbour Court, Hartlepool.

Passing the 12-year sentence, with an additional one year on extended licence, the judge added: “I recognise that the sentence will be a long one for you to serve but the crimes that you have committed are exceptionally depraved and serious, and robbed a young and vulnerable person of their childhood.”

Speaking after the hearing, Sergeant Paul West from Cleveland Police’s Child Abuse Vulnerable Adults (CAVA) unit said: “The court heard in a victim impact statement how this offending has had a significant impact on the victim’s life.

“I’d like to praise their bravery in coming forward and their strength throughout the court process.

“We welcome today’s sentence and hope it will give the victim some closure.”