Man in court on Sunderland schoolgirl rape charge

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A MAN has appeared at court to deny raping a schoolgirl almost 30 years ago.

Stephen Crawford is accused of carrying out the sex attack.

The assault, on a 13-year-old, is alleged to have taken place in Sunderland in the early 1980s.

The 48-year-old, of no fixed address, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court via videolink to HMP Frankland yesterday.

He pleaded not guilty to a single charge of rape.

The case was adjourned until next month when Crawford will be tried by a jury.

He was remanded in custody in the meantime.