Westcliff man jailed for child sexual offences

A detective from the Essex Police Child Abuse Investigation Team has praised the bravery of a young girl, as a man was jailed after sexually abusing her for two years.

Ryan Holtum, 39, of Hainault Avenue, Westcliff, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday May 16 where he was jailed for 18 years.

An investigation into Holtum was launched in February 2020, after Essex Police received a report, detailing multiple offences of sexual abuse against a child.

The victim bravely disclosed that Holtum had raped her on multiple occasions, the first time when she was just six years old.

Holtum was arrested within three hours of the report. Whilst being interviewed, he denied all allegations against him and tried to imply that the victim was lying.

He was subsequently charged with eight counts of rape against a child under the age of 13, one count of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of attempted rape of a child under 13.

Following the conclusion of a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court on November 13 2023, the jury found him guilty of two counts of rape of a child under 13, causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and one count of attempted rape of a child under 13.

No decision could be reached for six counts of rape of a child under 13, leaving the charges on file.

He was remanded into custody until sentence. He was also issued with a one-year extended licence and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Detective Constable Andrew Humphreys, investigating officer in the case, said: “It has taken more than four years for the victim to finally see this man behind bars for what he did to her.

“Whilst many of these delays were out of our control, Holtum has done what he can to drag out the legal process, putting the victim and their family though terrible stress.

“For a young girl, under the age of 13 to go through this is unthinkable. The victim and her family have conducted themselves with incredible dignity throughout this difficult process and I really hope that today’s result allows them to start moving forward from this ordeal.

“Support is there for anyone affected by rape and sexual abuse, and no victim or survivor is alone. Synergy Essex provides specialist support for victims and survivors of rape and sexual abuse of all ages and all genders across Essex.”