Sunderland man jailed for sickening attacks on young boy - which he carried out while a child himself

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An attacker who raped a very young boy when he was 12 has been put behind bars.

Warren Wilkinson carried out two sickening sex attacks on the child in Sunderland more than a decade ago, when he was still a schoolboy himself.

The 26-year-old was arrested when his victim, who is now an adult, found the courage to break his silence and reported what happened to him to the police.

Wilkinson, of Queens Crescent, Sunderland, was arrested and denied indecent assault and rape but was convicted of both charges by a jury after a trial.

At Newcastle Crown Court Mr recorder Little sentenced him to four years behind bars and said he must sign the sex offenders register for life.

The judge told him: "This is not an easy sentencing exercise.

"I am sentencing a man in his mid twenties for serious sexual offending committed when he was a child.

"When you committed these offences you were 12.

"Although you are an adult now, you were not at at time and it is right I take that into account. You were 12 an plainly that is material to your degree of culpability."

The judge said Wilkinson was entitled to a sentence reduction of more than fifty per cent due to his age at the time he committed the offences.

He said the sentence starting point for a defendant who committed the offences as an adult would have been more than ten years.

The court heard the Wilkinson carried out the attacks in around 2003.

The first attack happened when Wilkinson asked the boy to follow him into some bushes.

During a second attack he raped the young victim, who then managed to run away.

In a statement to police, the victim, who said he was "scared" and in pain at the time, said the ordeal has left him with anger issues and trouble forming relationships in adult life.

He said he was left "frightened of men in case they did something" and added: "I never wish to ever see Warren Wilkinson again".

The judge told Wilkinson: "You had a really bad effect on his life."

Alec Burns, defending, said Wilkinson has health problems and has been assessed as posing a "medium" risk of harm to others.

Mr Burns added: "There is not a great deal I can say, he is 26 and of good character."