Sunderland seafront rapist who attacked schoolgirl is caged
A paedophile who raped a schoolgirl during a seafront attack after offering her a lift home has been jailed for ten-and-a-half years.
James Bradford pounced on his victim as she sat in the passenger seat after pulling over in his car near the beach at Hendon in Sunderland instead of driving her to her house.
During the attack, which happened in the 1990s, the victim said she was warned by Bradford that what he did to her should stay their "little secret".
The victim stayed silent about her ordeal for more than two decades until she was forced to re-live what happened to her by giving evidence against him in court.
Bradford, of Amalfi Towers, Sunderland, denied two charges of rape and two of sexual assault in relation to the victim, but was convicted by a jury after a trial.
The now 70-year-old was also convicted of another sexual assault, which happened in the 1980s, on a different young girl.
During the trial he claimed his victims had "fabricated" what had happened to them.
Both victims have been left psychologically traumatised by what Bradford did to them.
Judge Edward Bindloss sentenced him to ten years and six months behind bars with sex offender registration requirements for life.
The court heard the 1990s attack happened when the victim was on her way home.
The judge said: "You said you would take her home.
"You went to Hendon and pulled up near the beach.
"You lay the front seat back. You were in the driver's seat and she was in the passenger seat.
"You came around to her side. You raped her."
The court heard Bradford had a heart attack after he was remanded in custody following his conviction in December.
He required heart surgery as a result and has serious, long standing health problems.
Judge Bindloss told Bradford: "The sentence of imprisonment for you is going to have a harder effect than on those younger and more able."
Glenn Gatland, defending, said Bradford's wife is standing by him.
Mr Gatland added: "There is nothing I would seek to say about the offending itself because Mr Bradford is adamant he has not committed these offences.
"I pass no comment about the offending."