February 2021

Killingworth paedophile raped child after her family pressured her to drop earlier allegations

A young girl was repeatedly raped after her family pressured her to drop earlier allegations against her abuser.

When the vulnerable child finally plucked up the courage to report that she had been abused by Craig Wight, it seemed her nightmare would be over.

But in an “appalling” development, members of her family persuaded her it would be best if she withdrew the complaint.

The youngster did as she was asked but months later Wight subjected her to a series of even more serious sex attacks, including multiple painful and violent rapes.

Now the 43-year-old paedophile, who groomed the victim by telling her he loved her, has been jailed for 15 years at Newcastle Crown Court.

Sentencing Wight, Judge Stephen Earl said it was “appalling” that the victim had been pressured into dropping the earlier allegations, which were of a less serious type than what went on to happen.

The judge outlined a series of despicable acts which he labelled “abhorrent abuse”.

Judge Earl said: “He repeatedly told her he loved her and he spoke about how the relationship could develop more when she got to 16.

“He took advantage of her vulnerability.

“This is not love, this is a form of control.

“You don’t love someone when you are 40-odd and they are (a child) and you are … raping them.”

The judge paid tribute to the victim for reporting what had happened to her.

He said: “It’s an amazing testament that she’s got the courage to report these matters.

“She has been failed by the adults in her life.

“She has felt isolated, out of place, vulnerable, emotional, a child unable to cope.

“These are phrases that burn themselves into your consciousness when you read them.”

Wight, of Hadrian Court, Killingworth, North Tyneside, admitted 18 sex offences including three of rape, although he raped her “at least four or five times”, the court heard.

Judge Earl told Wight he would have to serve two-thirds of the 15 year sentence and will be on the sex offenders register for life and subject to a sexual harm prevention order

The judge told him: “You had a clear warning when she made and retracted, through pressure, her first complaint.

“I can only express horror for the way you have callously acted towards her.”

Judge Earl said there was “very little mitigation” in Wight’s favour.