December 2015

Pervert who raped girl who suffered from severe learning difficulties jailed for 18 years

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A pervert who raped a girl who suffered from severe learning difficulties on at least three occasions has been jailed for 18 years.

And because Stephen Mark Rudkin is considered to pose a significant risk of committing further similar offences in the future, he was also made subject of an extended eight-year licence period.

The effect of the extended sentence means that 25-year-old Rudkin will not be released until the Parole Board consider it safe to do so, only after he has served two-thirds of the 18 years, and he will be subject to licence conditions until the end of the entire 26-year period.

Judge Christopher Prince said it means the public will be protected under the terms of the licence, until Rudkin is aged 51, therefore negating the need for the imposition of a sexual harm prevention order.

He will also be subject to registration as a sex offender for life.

Rudkin, of Ryton Crescent, Seaham, who has a previous caution for sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl, was convicted of two counts of rape after a trial in September.

He denied the charges, but, guilty verdicts were returned by the jury on the fourth day of the trial.

One of the offences was a sample count and the other a specimen charge covering at least two other occasions, but Matthew Bean, prosecuting, said it was unclear exactly how many times it took place.

The sentencing hearing was adjourned to enable both psychiatric and probation reports to be drawn up for the court.

Christine Egerton, mitigating, said, although the defendant continued to deny the rape allegations, he has, at least, now conceded that some form of sexual activity took place and is prepared to undergo treatment while behind bars to address his, “inappropriate, dis-inhibiting sexual behaviour”.

Due to the age and vulnerability of the victim, the case was the first in the country to be subject to the remote link facilities in place in Durham.

It meant from the time the complaint was made to police, in May, until the outcome of the trial, the victim did not have to set foot in a police station, hospital or court.

She was taken to the “remote” suite to give her initial recorded interview with police, which was played to the jury at her trial.

The accompanied victim returned there during the trial for cross-examination, but only after the judge and barristers in the case had visited her to help put her at ease.

Miss Egerton, as defence barrister, was only permitted to ask a limited number of questions which were agreed with assistance of a child psychiatrist beforehand.