‘Cowardly’ child rapist jailed for 14 years and criticised by judge after refusing to appear at Northampton Crown Court

Crown Court GV'
Crown Court GV'

A 53-year-old man who raped a young girl has been given a 14-year jail sentence by a judge at Northampton Crown Court who condemned his “cowardice” in not appearing in court.

Robert Craddock, aged 52, was convicted by a jury of rape of a girl aged under 13 after a trial in May.

He was also convicted of attempted rape of a young girl and indecent assault.

At a sentencing hearing on Monday, the court heard that, despite denying the charges, Craddock refused to take the witness stand during the trial to offer a defence to the charges.

He also refused to attend the sentencing hearing so His Honour Judge Timothy Smith was forced to sentence him in his absence.

Judge Smith said: “You lacked the courage to give evidence in front of a jury. Now you have been convicted you have again showed cowardice by failing to appear in front of me to hear my sentencing remarks.”

He said Craddock had demonstrated “predatory” behaviour and posed a “serious risk” to the public.

Craddock, now of Thistle Drive, Peterborough, was sentenced to 14 years in jail with an extra four-year licence period. He will serve at least two thirds of his jail sentence.