A former soldier who raped a nine-year-old girl while serving in Germany 24 years ago was today jailed for seven years after justice finally caught up with him.
Dennis Fitzgerald, 55, from Nottingham, was a member of the Grenadier Guards based in Munster when he attacked the youngster four times in 1987.
Fitzgerald, who is serving a jail term for another rape in Poole, Dorset, also in 1987, was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault and one of rape at a court martial held in Bulford, Wiltshire. He had denied the charges.
Even though Fitzgerald left the Army in 1994 at the rank of lance corporal, the court martial had jurisdiction over the case because it happened overseas.
The woman, now married and in her 30s, was forced to give evidence recounting how Fitzgerald groomed her, assaulted her three times and then raped her in her bedroom. After each attack he told her not to speak to her father about what had happened.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in a statement that the attacks had left her feeling dirty and had affected her as she grew up and she had even contemplated suicide.
Vice-Judge Advocate General Michael Hunter told Fitzgerald at the hearing in Bulford: "Your actions have left your victim with permanent mental scars."
Fitzgerald received an eight-year jail sentence in 2010 at Bournemouth Crown Court when he entered the bedroom of a woman, now aged in her 40s, at her home in November 1987.
He threatened her, blindfolded and gagged her and then raped her twice.
Former factory supervisor Fitzgerald was linked to the Poole rape after Nottinghamshire Police arrested him for possessing child pornography and a DNA match was made to the crime.
The latest victim then also came forward.