A HAYLE pensioner has been jailed for seven years after admitting to raping a teenage girl with learning difficulties and leaving her pregnant.
Edward Opie, 82, of Penpol Vean, assaulted the 17-year-old girl, who the court heard had a mental age of 8, in 1978.
He pleaded guilty to the crime in July at Truro Crown Court but denied 11 other charges of sex abuse allegedly committed between 1960 and 1988. His not guilty pleas were accepted by the Crown.
At the sentencing last Friday, Judge John Neligan told Opie that he had "ruined the girl's life".
He said: "The baby was adopted immediately and she has never seen the child."
Prosecutor Joanna Martin said that Opie had claimed the relationship with the girl was consensual but it was the Crown's case that she did not have the mental capacity to give consent.
The pensioner must serve two thirds of his sentence before he can be released on licence and has also been ordered to sign the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.
Jeremy Leaning, for the defence, said in mitigation that Opie had led an unblemished life since committing the offence, that he was the carer for his 72-year-old wife, who has health problems and that he had never used force or threats to abuse his victim.
Penzance Criminal Investigation Department (CID) led the three-year investigation which secured the conviction of Opie.
Detective Sergeant Mark Jones, who was one of the officers in charge of the case, said: "I wish to pay tribute to the women that came forward in this case, who showed great determination and courage through a challenging investigation and court process.
"Operation Sherwood was a three-year historical sexual abuse investigation, which was of a complex nature and required a great degree of understanding and sensitivity by the investigating team and all the other support agencies involved.
"The positive outcome in this matter is a great relief to the victim and all the people who supported her."
DS Jones added the police force was committed to providing support for victims of crime and that no incident was too old or challenging.
"I urge anyone who feels they have been a victim of crime in the past to come forward," he said.
To contact the police, call 101.