December 2020

Darlington paedophile Joseph Telford jailed for 25 years

A paedophile who subjected his victims to harrowing ordeals over three decades of offending has been jailed for 25 years.

Joseph Telford’s crimes, spanning the 1950s, 60s and 70s, came to light in 2017 when one of his victims reported what had happened to police.

An investigation was launched, which uncovered the scale of his offending and identified three further victims who Telford repeatedly abused over several years when they were children.

He assaulted one of them on no less than 60 occasions over a period of four years, while another suffered six years of abuse, which began when they were just eight.

Telford, of Major Street, Darlington, who is now 76, was charged with 12 counts of indecent assault and six counts of rape. He denied the charges, but was found guilty following a trial.

Jailing Telford for 25 years at Teesside Crown Court on Friday, Judge Howard Crowson praised the “high quality” police investigation.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, one of his victims said: “This man not only took away from me my childhood innocence, and the enjoyment of growing up without fear of further abuse, he also took away my dignity and belief in myself.

“He created fear and nightmares that have remained with me throughout my life. He made me feel dirty and, at the age I am, I still feel dirty. “The reason it took me so long to report it was because I have been conditioned by him to believe that no one would ever believe me.

“I know that at the age I am now, this may sound silly or unbelievable to someone who has not been the victim of prolonged sexual abuse, but it is as a direct consequence of the years of horrendous and painful sexual abuse that he exerted control over me and put me in unbelievably immense fear of him. He conditioned me to believe that I was so worthless, no one would ever believe me.

“I would like to express my thanks to the court and in particular, I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to Heidi Weir for her support and excellent investigation, and the bringing to justice of this evil man.”