Detectives praise 'courageous' woman for coming forward after Seaham rapist brought to justice

Detectives have praised a victim for coming forward after the man who raped her was brought to justice.

Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 2:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 2:33 pm

The woman was attacked by high-risk sex offender Callum Smith when he targeted her, knowing she was alone.

It was not the first time the 45-year-old had raped a woman. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for a similar attack in 2013.

Durham Constabulary said the victim was initially frightened to report the crime due to being pressured by Smith but after engaging with officers, bravely supported the investigation.

Rapist Callum Smith.

Smith, of Church Street, Seaham, denied the attack and stood trial at Durham Crown Court where jurors were told how the attack had left the victim with flashbacks and needing medication for depression.

Police said as a result of the attack, she was also forced to give up her job and struggles to leave the house.Smith was subsequently found guilty of rape and sentenced on Friday, July 29, to 13 years in prison with a five-year extended licence meaning he will have to serve at least two-thirds of his sentence before being considered for release by the parole board.

The judge branded Smith a high-risk sexual offender and made him subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order. He will also be registered as a sex offender for life.

He also granted the victim a lifetime restraining order.

Detective Constable Ben Cloke, who led the investigation, said: “Smith knew exactly what he was doing when he targeted this vulnerable woman, and we cannot praise her enough for having the courage to come forward and work with us to bring him to justice.

“We hope this sentence gives her some comfort and helps her to start to heal in the knowledge he is back behind bars.”

If you have been the victim of a sexual offence, please report it by either calling 999 or 101.

Officers said victims can also receive support at the force’s specialist hub: The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre which is free and available to both men and women.

The Meadows offers a forensic medical examination, advice, support, counselling and sexual health screening and aim to provide help as soon as someone feels ready, whether they wish to report the assault to the police or not.

If you a victim decides to report to the police, they can help them do so.

The Meadows is located around four miles outside of Durham City centre can can be contaced on 03333 448283, 0191 375 2933 or by visiting www.themeadowsdurham.org.uk