Sex offender is sentenced to 17 years in prison

A man has been jailed for 17 years for sexual offences involving a child which occurred over a decade.

Stephen Wilkes, 34, of Monkside, Cramlington, was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday.

He had been found guilty at an earlier court hearing of ten counts of indecent assault/gross indecency and sexual activity involving a child.

The offences were committed over a ten-year period starting in the 1990s when the victim was three-years-old.

Wilkes also pleaded guilty last August to possessing an indecent moving image of a child on his computer.

After the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Phil Mordue, of the rape investigation team, said: “I would like to praise the bravery of the victim who came forward and told officers about these crimes.

“This enquiry has been very difficult for this individual and I hope that following this sentence she feels that justice has now been done.

“I would like to say to anyone who has suffered such abuse to try to find the courage to tell the police so we can take action.

“No one should feel they have to suffer in silence and carry around the heavy burden of this type of abuse.

“I hope this young woman can now start to put this ordeal behind her and move forward with the help and support of her family.”