August 2013

Repeat rapist, deemed a threat to young teens, jailed for 19 years at Durham Crown Court


A CONVICTED rapist who struck shortly after his release from prison, targeting a young teenage girl, was today (Thursday August 15) jailed for 19 years.

Andrew John Morton was branded a “predatory paedophile” by the judge who imposed the extended sentence deeming him to be a threat to girls in their early teens.

The latest offences took place not long after Morton’s release, on licence, from a ten-year sentence imposed for five counts of rape, and one each of attempted rape and indecent assault , imposed at Teesside Crown Court in 2004.

Durham Crown Court heard that the 31-year-old “ingratiated” himself with his victim’s group of friends, claiming to be aged 19.

He raped the girl several times over a period of months last year, threatening her with violence if she resisted his advances or reported the events.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said in some cases Morton held her by the throat, squeezing her neck, overpowering her until she allowed him to perform various sex acts.

His actions only came to light when the girl was found crying in her bedroom by her mother, in February.

On being asked what was upsetting her, she revealed what had taken place.

Morton, now 32, previously of Newton Aycliffe and Blackhall, both in County Durham, but living recently in Hull, was arrested and denied the allegations.

He was charged with four counts of rape, one of sexual activity with a child and one of inciting a girl to take part in sexual activity, all of which he denied.

A jury returned unanimous ‘guilty’ verdicts on all seven charges following a three-day trial at the court in June.

Judge Christopher Prince adjourned warning Morton he faced a long period behind bars, either on a life or extended sentence.

Morton refused to leave his prison cell to be brought to court for today’s sentencing hearing.

Judge Prince, who said Morton was, “maybe too cowardly” to attend to learn his fate, decided to sentence him in his absence as the victim was at court with her family.

Jim Withyman, for Morton, said: “It would be inappropriate for me to mitigate on the facts of this case, given that the defendant had a trial and was found ‘guilty’.”

Under the terms of the extended sentence passed by Judge Prince, Morton can only be released if the Parole Board decide it’s safe to do so, and not until he has served at least two-thirds of the 19 years.

He will then be subject to six years’ extended licence, and must register as a sex offender for life.