A RAPIST who attacked a child three times has been put behind bars for nine years.

Thomas Eastwood, 28, of no fixed address, was arrested in Harwich in January.

His arrest followed an investigation into the alleged abuse between 2006 and 2011 involving one girl in Tendring.

He was charged with three counts of rape and two counts of assault by touching.

Eastwood was also charged with one count of possessing a prohibited image of a child after images depicting child abuse were found on his mobile phone by his offender manager in July 2018.

He admitted all of the charges during an appearance at Chelmsford Crown Court in March.

Yesterday a judge at the same court sentenced him to spend to nine years in prison.

He will also spend a further five years on licence once released from jail.

Eastwood was already a registered sex offender when he was arrested in Harwich in January.

Det Con Roxanne Smith, from the Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “The victim in this case has displayed unparalleled strength, dignity and bravery throughout the investigative process.

“I would like to pay tribute to her courage and wish her the very best in her life going forward.

“Eastwood will now face a significant period of time behind bars.

“I hope this shows that there is no time limit on justice and I would urge anyone who has been a victim of abuse to come forward and report it, no matter when it took place.

“Please don’t suffer in silence.”