Sunderland rapist behind bars for historic sex attacks

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court

A rapist has been jailed for 10-and-a-half-years for a series of sex attacks carried out more than two decades ago.

Andrew Smith, now 45, raped his victim when she was just a teenage girl, by which time she had already suffered multiple indecent assaults by him.

In a statement, the woman has told Newcastle Crown Court: "I believe he has ruined my life."

Smith, of Chester Road, Sunderland, claimed the victim was a "liar" and denied all charges but was convicted by a jury, after a trial, of seven offences of indecent assault and one of rape.

The victim, who said she has suffered a lifetime of trauma and suffering as a result of her ordeal and has even attempted suicide, gave evidence against her attacker during the case.

She said in her statement: "Andrew Smith knew he was guilty of abusing me and rather than admitting this, he tried to make me out as a liar.

"He forced me to court, having already suffered a huge trauma, he chose to inflict more on me and my family."

The court heard the woman has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and is undergoing counselling to try and cope with what Smith did to her.

She added: "I still have a long road ahead of me to try and get my self respect back."

Judge Robert Adams said Smith must sign the sex offenders register for life.

The judge told him: "The complainant has outlined the difficulties giving evidence in court caused her, of being called a liar, effectively, by you as part of your defence.

"She had to give evidence during the trial. It is clear to me, on the verdicts of the jury, that what happened had a significant effect on her."

The judge said the victim suffered "severe psychological harm" as a result of her ordeal.

Judge Adams told Smith: "I am well aware of the fact you continue to deny these offences. I have to sentence you based on the verdict of the jury."

The court heard Smith was an underage teenager himself when the offences started and was aged around 22 when he raped the victim.

Christopher Rose, defending, said Smith had an unhappy childhood and spent time in care before being sent to a young offenders institution in the early 1990s.

Since then, Smith, who submitted references to his positive character, has stayed out of trouble and was a carer for his mother.