Sunderland councillor charged with child sex offence

Councillor Paul Middleton.
Councillor Paul Middleton.

A Sunderland councillor has been charged with a child sex offence.

Coun Paul Middleton is due to appear at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court next month accused of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

The 44-year-old, who was elected to Sunderland City Council in 2015, was served a court summons on Wednesday.

Coun Middleton, who represents the same Washington South ward as council leader Graeme Miller, was suspended by the Labour Party in June, pending a party investigation.

Since then he has been listed as an ‘independent’ councillor.

According to his biography on the council’s website, Coun Middleton has lived in Washington for ‘the majority’ of his life.

Coun Miller, the leader of the council, said: “The police have charged him and that’s up to them, I cannot comment on it, it would be inappropriate of me to comment.”

An official comment from the city council echoed this, saying it would be inappropriate ‘to comment when legal proceedings are ongoing’.

A spokesman for the Labour Party declined to comment.

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service