These are the faces of six rapists jailed for combination of 144 years for horrific crimes in Sunderland and the North East

Some of the biggest sentences were handed down to the region's most dangerous sex offenders this year and now the brave victims have been praised for coming forward.

Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 2:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 6:33 pm
Omar Sharif

In the last 12 months, Northumbria Police has seen some lengthy sentences handed down to a number of dangerous paedophiles and rapists.

We take a look at six of the most dangerous criminals who have been handed more than 20 years behind bars for horrific sex crimes.

Omar Sharif. 37 years.

Hilario Mendonca

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Omar Sharif, 24, plied vulnerable young women with drink and drugs and raped them.

Sharif, of Brunton Terrace, Sunderland admitted drugs offences and denied rape, but was convicted of four charges against three victims.

He was jailed for 32-and-a-half years with five years on license.

The officer leading the investigation said Sharif thought he was 'untouchable' and treated all his victims with 'complete disrespect'.

Colin Ankers.

Hilario Mendonca. 20 years.

Hilario Mendonca, 29, forced his way into an address in the east end of the city in January last year, forced the female occupant upstairs and then raped her.

Neighbours were woken by the screams of the victim during the early morning attack and contacted police.Mendonca, of Raby Street, Byker, was handed the 20 year sentence for seven counts of rape and one sexual assault.

Colin Ankers. 21 years.

Lee Goldsworthy

Colin Ankers is one of four men who has been sentenced for his part in brutally raping a child.

Ankers, 46, of Waterville Road, North Shields, was convicted of 14 counts of rape and four of indecent assault. He was jailed for 21 years extended for one year on licence.

Detective Constable Jaclyn Younger said it was an 'emotional moment she will never forget' when the judge handed down the sentences to all four men but in particular Ankers, who the victim described as the 'worst' offender.

Lee Goldsworthy. 22 years.

Michael Fitzgerald.

Lee Goldsworthy, 35, of Alexandra Road, Ashington, was found guilty of four counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault after a trial last month and was sentenced to 22 years.

During Lee Goldsworthy's reign of terror, he raped a woman with learning difficulties and sexually assaulted a child in a hospital corridor who was there to visit a dying relative.

Detective Constable Mandy Todd had been 'living and breathing' the investigation for three years and felt a sense of relief for the victims when the sentence was handed down to Goldsworthy.

Michael Fitzgerald. 23 years.

David Michael Fitzgerald, 51, was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court for 20 sexual offences including rape and sexual assault.

Fitzgerald, of Cullercoats Street, Newcastle, denied the abuse which started when the victim was a child and continued into her adulthood.

Tyler Latimer

He was branded a dangerous offender and was sentenced to 23 years behind bars and will be subject to an extended licence period of a further seven years upon release.

Detective Constable Hayley Evans admitted she 'struggled to hold back the tears' as the judge handed the 23 year sentence down to Fitzgerald earlier this month.

Tyler Latimer. 21 years.

Rapist Tyler Latimer was jailed for 21 years after subjecting a woman to 'gratuitous degradation'.

The victim was left 'cowering and extremely distressed' by her ordeal at the hands of the 22-year-old.

Latimer, 22, of Kelvin Grove, Gateshead was jailed last year after a jury found him guilty of three counts of rape and one charge of common assault. He had also pleaded guilty to two offences of assault, common assault and criminal damage.

Brave victims have been praised for reporting the abuse

Detective Chief Superintendent Scott Hall, who is head of the force's Safeguarding department, said: "These men are behind bars for a very long time and the reason for that is simply because the victims have been so incredibly brave in reporting their horrific ordeals to the police and we have taken action.

"While the sentences passed down to offenders is ultimately in the hands of the judges, I absolutely recognise the hard work, dedication and compassion our officers need to have in order to get offenders before the courts.

"Working in the Safeguarding Department is a really specialist role and is often very challenging but that is absolutely why we have highly trained and dedicated officers and staff working in the department and we are doing more than ever to support vulnerable victims.

"These are some of the most substantial sentences we have seen for sexual offences and I hope it does serve as a warning that there is no place in society for dangerous sex offenders."

Have you been affected by sexual assault?

Anyone who has been victim of rape, sexual assault or abuse, recent or historic, is asked to contact police on 101 or report via the "Tell Us Something" page of the Northumbria Police website. Always call 999 in an emergency.

To contact the 24/7 Crisis Helpline contact 03333448283 or find out more about our Sexual Assault Referral Centre by searching REACH SARC online.

Victims can also contact Victims First Northumbria on 0800 011 3116 who will give independent advice and support.

For more information about rape or sexual assault search Northumbria Police online. All our webpages have a 'hide page' function and there is guidance on deleting your internet history. If you have concerns about using your own devices, contact a close friend or family member to use their device or use the internet access at a local library.