70-year-old Sunderland man jailed for child rape

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A PAEDOPHILE has been jailed for 16 years after one of his victims told of her ordeal at his hands in a heartbreaking letter to her mother.

Thomas Spence preyed on three innocent girls during the 1970s and in the 2000s.

Newcastle Crown Court heard one of his latest victims found the courage to break her silence about what the now 70-year-old had done to her in the past.

In a letter to her mum she said: “Mam please don’t go off it when you read this, I am sorry I never told you before but I can’t handle it anymore.”

Spence, of Riddings Square, Red House, admitted charges of rape in relation to the letter-writer.

After two other victims came forward Spence pleaded guilty to indecent assault in relation to one girl and attempted rape and sexual assault in relation to the other.

The court heard Spence is now in poor health and has been undergoing tests to see if he has cancer. His barrister Colin Harvey said Spence no longer poses a risk to anyone.