Washington man one of dozens of sex offenders jailed in last 15 months for combined total of over 1,000 years

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Northumbria Police hope more victims will be encouraged to come forward.

Washington man Trevor Cairns is one of nearly 90 sex offenders across the region locked up in just over a year..

The last 15 months has seen sex offenders from Sunderland and the North East jailed for a combined total of over 1,000 years.

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The offences include rape, sexual assault, possession of indecent images of children, and sexual activity with children and are some of the “most serious, complex, and long-spanning investigations dealt with by police”.

Some of the sex offenders locked up in the last 15 months.Some of the sex offenders locked up in the last 15 months.
Some of the sex offenders locked up in the last 15 months.

One offender to get one of the highest individual sentences was Trevor Cairns, 67, of The Terraces, Washington, who was jailed for 28 years in May last year for 13 offences including rape and indecent assault.

Other offenders facing decades behind bars include Ian Tague, 42, of Milford, Gateshead, who was jailed in May last year for life, with a minimum of 20 years, for child sexual offences including rape and sexual activity in the presence of a child, and Keith Whitfield, 60, of Huxley Crescent, Gateshead, who was jailed for 17 years in March last year for indecent assault, rape and attempted rape.

In December, Fraser Brennan, 35, of Allanville, Camperdown, was jailed for 27 years for offences including rape, while John Bell, 67, of Aycliffe Place, Gateshead, was jailed in January for 17 years for offences including rape and indecent assault.

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Detective Chief Superintendent Lyn Peart, who leads Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department, commended the officers involved and praised the bravery of victims for coming forward: “I want to recognise the survivors of all these truly awful crimes for reporting these offences to us, and their ongoing bravery which helps us secure convictions against their abusers.

“Putting dangerous and predatory criminals before the courts is what everyone wants and I’m proud to say that’s what we continuously deliver.

“These convictions really wouldn’t be possible without the endless and determined work of all the officers and staff who work in our Safeguarding Department.

“They are committed to supporting victims while carrying out professional investigations to help secure justice.

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“Every day, they see and hear things which no one should – but they do it so they can keep people safe and secure justice for victims.”

“As a Force, protecting vulnerable people is a priority for us, and while we know nothing can ever change what these victims have been through, we hope that we can give them a certain sense of closure and help them to move forward with their lives.

“We know coming forward is never easy, especially given what some of these people have been through and suffered with their whole life, but please, give us the opportunity to get you the justice you deserve.”

Northumbria Police has republished the names of the offenders with some of the longest sentences in the hope it may encourage other abuse victims to get in touch with the strong message that “anyone who does come forward will be listened to and supported”.

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Lauren Costello, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor with CPS North East, said: “Each of these convictions is testament to the close working relationship between Northumbria Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

“Through the provision of early investigative advice and effective case management, we can build robust cases against those committing these horrific offences.

“The damaging effect of such crimes on victims cannot be overstated. We recognise the bravery of all victims who come forward to report sexual offences, who can be assured that police and prosecutors will continue to work together to see those committing such offences sentenced for their actions.”

Anyone who has been subjected to any form of sexual offence is encouraged to contact officers using the ‘Report’ pages of the Northumbria Police website or by calling 101.

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Sexual offences can also be reported through the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), Rape Crisis Centres, Women’s Aid, Victim Support, The Survivors Trust and Male Survivors Partners.

Victims can also contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, Rape Crisis Support Line, and any NHS service, including 111, A&E, or a contraceptive clinic.