A sexual predator who abused a girl for four years kept her in the bed by describing monsters hiding under it.

The 39-year-old man was jailed for three years 11 months when he was sentenced at Waitakere District Court this afternoon.

He had previously admitted to a charge of attempted sexual violation and two of committing indecent acts against a child under 12 between 2004 and 2008.

Judge Kevin Glubb said the girl, who was now a teenager, had been traumatised by the events.


"She said she was robbed of confidence and it's clear your offending robbed her of the innocence every child is entitled to," he said.

The defendant - who cannot be named because it may identify the victim - was described as a "non-biological uncle" who lived with the girl's family at various west Auckland addresses.

The court heard how the offending continued even when he returned for visits after moving out.

The girl told police how in 2004 she awoke to find the man had moved her from her bed into his.

In a bid to keep the victim in his bed and entice her into performing sex acts on him, the defendant played on her immaturity.

"You were lying next to her preventing her from leaving," Judge Glubb said.

"You said there were things hiding under the bed that would eat her."

On another occasion the pair were alone watching a movie when the defendant took the opportunity to abuse the girl, using similar threats to effectively paralyse her.

The victim wanted to leave the room but her uncle told her there were rats under the bed that would bite her should she do so.

In several instances the man repeatedly abused the child until she was crying "uncontrollably" and he had no choice but to let her leave.

Judge Glubb said the substance of the charges was "as close to rape as could be imagined".

"You were a mature man, strong in build. She was a child living in her family home . . . she was highly vulnerable," he said.

"She should've been safe in your company and care; she wasn't. You preyed on her as you chose."

Supporters of the man in the public gallery winced as the facts of the case were read in court but waved goodbye as he was led into custody.

Normally, sentenced prisoners are eligible for a parole hearing after serving a third of their sentence but Judge Glubb ordered the man to serve 23 months behind bars before any chance of release.