A Geraldton man has been jailed for almost seven years for repeatedly sexually abusing his ex-partner’s young child over an 18-month period. The 55-year-old grandfather was found guilty by a District Court jury in August on eight of 10 counts against him — including seven counts of indecent dealings with a child and one count of sexual penetration of a child under 13. The court was told the victim was aged between eight and 10 when the abuse took place from 2019 to 2021. The now 12-year-old girl’s evidence at trial helped convict the man. The man, who cannot be identified to protect the victim’s identity, was the partner of the girl’s mother and committed the offences while with the girl in his car or at home, when the mother was in another room. The incidents included the man groping the victim’s private parts, kissing her and exposing himself to her. District Court Judge Sarah Russell said the crimes were a “gross breach of trust” of the child and her mother. “You abused (the victim)‘s and her mother’s trust and your position of power,” she said. Over video link, Judge Russell said that the man and the child had a close relationship, and the child thought of him as an uncle. “She was not only vulnerable . . . she saw you as a father figure, someone she and her mother trusted,” she said. Judge Russell stated the man had tried to conceal the acts by telling the victim not to tell her mother. The judge said the crimes had left a “significant and detrimental impact” on the child, stating she was afraid to be alone and now only trusted her family. She also said the perpetrator had failed to show remorse or accept responsibility after pleading not guilty, and added that he had failed to show signs of rehabilitation. The man was the caregiver for a relative with a disability, but Judge Russell said this was not a mitigating factor for her sentencing decision. The man had a history of minor convictions from before 1997, but no record of sexual crimes. While acknowledging the man had not used violence and had no history of sexual offences, Judge Russell said given the sustained nature of the repeated offences, which breached trust and happened when the man had the opportunity, a sentence of six years and eight months was appropriate. The man will be eligible for parole after four years and eight months.