Teenage girl fails to get grandfathers conviction for sexually abusing her overturned

A grandfather jailed for sexually abusing his granddaughter will not have his conviction quashed despite the 17-year-old now claiming that she invented the allegations.The man, who is 68, must continue to serve his 12-year prison sentence even though the girl, who was the main witness in the case against him, has said that she lied at his trial.Senior judges in the Court of Appeal heard how she invented the abuse as a way to gain attention from family members and friends but that after seeing her grandfather go to prison she realised she had to “do the right thing”. However the judges ruled that her original evidence at the trial in January last year at Snaresbrook crown court in London remained believable. In a ruling handed down on Friday the judges ruled that the girl, who was described as a “fragile and troubled teenager”, seemed motivated by regret that her grandfather had been imprisoned.The girl, known as M is proceedings as she cannot be named, first made the allegations about her relative to a counsellor in 2016, when she was 14. M told the counsellor that she realised that her grandfather’s behaviour was wrong only after attending sex education classes at school when she was in year eight. The counsellor reported the conversation to the police, who interviewed M the following day. Three months after the allegations were raised he faced charged of abusing the girl on several occasions when she was three or four, six or seven and eight or nine years old.The girl’s mother, M’s counsellor and a police officer all gave evidence in the trial. The man was convicted in February last year by a majority verdict of 11 to 1. The appeal was launched on the ground that the granddaughTer had given false evidence during the trial. M has now produced a 14-paragraph statement retracting the allegations against her relative. The statement says she wished to “withdraw my allegations as the alleged incidents did not in fact take place”.She says that she was “not informed of the consequences that would follow if the allegations I made were believed until after the proceedings had commenced, by which time I was too scared to say that I had lied. I now fully understand the severity of my allegations and the consequences of my actions.She went on to say that she had not liked the way her grandfather had treated her mother and “this gave me the idea” to make false allegations against him. The teenager went on to say: “I now realise the severity of my actions and sincerely regret them. After my grandfather went to prison, I knew I had to do the right thing and tell the truth. “I am making this statement because it is the right thing to do and I want to tell the truth. I am truly sorry for what I have done.”The retraction was supported by her mother, who during the trial was forced to deny that she had prompted her daughter to make the allegations because of her own dislike of her father-in-law.Concluding the trial it was ruled that there was “no proper basis for rejecting M’s original evidence”, adding: “We reject the veracity and reliability of her subsequent retraction statement, put in after sentence was announced.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more