A twisted events boss repeatedly raped a five-year-old girl because he “wanted attention”, a court heard.
Lance Buruka, 44, molested the young child before raping her – but when confronted over his sickening abuse, he denied any of the rapes and only admitted lesser offences.
This meant the little girl had to endure the ordeal of giving evidence at a trial.
Buruka, of Birchwood, in Warrington, was found guilty of seven counts of rape.
He was jailed for 18 years with an extended year on licence and designated an “offender of particular concern” because of the risk he poses.
The Liverpool Echo was unable to show his face because Cheshire Police refused to release his mugshot, despite official guidelines stating that it should be provided to the media.
However, these photos reveal the monster who used to run a company called Buruka Event Planning Limited, based in Skelmersdale.
Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, told Buruka: “You sexually attacked her and did so for your own sexual gratification.
“You told the author of your pre-sentence report that you were feeling lonely and wanted attention.
“She doesn’t fully appreciate the scale of your offending.
“Her mother said that you have taken her innocence.
“She is likely to be profoundly damaged by what you have done to her.”
He added: “You had an understanding of the harm caused and you were only concerned about your own satisfaction.”
Buruka was found guilty of the rapes and three counts of sexual assault of a child under 13 at a trial at Liverpool Crown Court in August.
He had pleaded guilty to two separate sexual assaults, plus sexual offences that were alternative charges to the rapes.
Owen Edwards, prosecuting, agreed with Judge Flewitt that Buruka would be sentenced for at least seven rapes.
He said: “It’s very difficult for a child of that age to say how many times it happened.”
The girl’s mum told the court that when she learned Buruka had raped her daughter “my whole world fell apart”.
In a victim statement, the mother said the child didn’t yet seem to understand what had happened to her.
However, she said Buruka had “taken away her innocence” and during the trial she had “cried her eyes out”.
The Rwandan and Congolese national has previous convictions, which include an assault against a former partner in 2011.
He also received a suspended jail sentence for a driving offence, committed when he was arrested for these sexual offences.
Katie Laverty, defending, said three character references had been provided for her client by various members of his family.
She said: “Mr Buruka is finally starting to realise the enormity of his actions and the dreadful impact this will have not only on his victim going forwards, but also on his wife and their children.”
Ms Laverty said in respect of the offences there was “little else” that could be said in mitigation, but her client had few convictions, this was his first experience of custody, and he apologised for his behaviour.
Judge Flewitt said there was no effective mitigation and by deciding to deny many of the allegations, he made his victim face cross-examination.
He told Buruka: “Your character references are of little value in a case of this gravity.
They were probably written by people unaware of your offending.”
The judge added that the report found he had “a lack of insight” into his actions and until he took full ownership and addressed his issues, “the risk of further sexual offences remains”.
Judge Flewitt said Buruka was an “offender of particular concern” and jailed him for 18 years, with an extended year on licence.
This means he will spend at least half of the sentence – nine years – behind bars, before he is eligible to apply for parole.
He will then only be released before the end of the 18 years if he is no longer considered to be a risk.
Judge Flewitt said Buruka must sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for life.
Both a 2005 protocol, created in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, Association of Chief Police Officers, the Attorney General’s Office and the media, and a 2017 College of Policing policy, agree a guilty defendant’s custody photo may be released – the latter stating “unless there is a court order or legitimate policing purpose preventing their identification”.
There was no court order and Cheshire Police has not cited any policing purpose for its refusal.