Ivan Winchester

Ivan Glen Winchester has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison.

A judge in Penticton didn’t mince words Wednesday after sending a man to jail for 4 1/2 years for repeated sexual abuse of a child.

“What happened is awful,” Judge Greg Koturbash told 42-year-old Ivan Winchester after passing sentence.

“You’ve destroyed a lot of lives.”

Winchester pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual interference for acts that occurred in Summerland between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2010.

A publication ban in place to protect the victim’s identity covers most details of the case.

Court heard the sexual abuse occurred several times a week for at least five years while the child was under the age of 14.

Winchester turned himself in to police in October 2018, and then fled to P.E.I., where he was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant. He returned to B.C. on his own to plead guilty and face the music.

Crown counsel Ann Lerchs cited Winchester’s guilty plea and co-operation with police as mitigating factors at sentencing. Lerchs then went on to reel off a list of aggravating factors, including the duration of the abuse and the victim’s age.

The 4/12-year sentence was a joint submission with defence counsel Michael Patterson.

Patterson said his client acknowledges what he did was wrong and pleaded guilty to help the victim begin healing.

“Mr. Winchester is suffering shame and disgrace… but that pales in comparison to what the victim feels,” said Patterson.

Winchester declined to address the court when given the chance to do so. The public gallery was filled with the victim’s friends and family.

Once released from prison, Winchester will be banned for 10 years from visiting parks, pools, schools or any other places may be present. He’ll also be prohibited from being within 100 kilometres of the victim’s place of residence.