Police praise rape victim's 'incredible bravery' as her abuser is jailed for more than 10 years

Newcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court

Police have praised the bravery of a rape victim for coming forward and reporting the 'horrific abuse' she suffered when she was a girl.

Andrew Smith, of General Havelock Road, Sunderland, was found guilty of one count of rape and seven indecent assaults and was given a ten-and-a-half year jail sentence on Friday.

Investigating Officer Detective Constable Sam Muhsin, has praised the victim for her bravery and urged anyone else suffering abuse to come forward.

He said: "The victim suffered horrific abuse when she was a girl.

"She has shown incredible bravery to come forward and I hope knowing her abuser is behind bars can help bring a sense of closure to what happened.

"If you are a victim of sexual abuse please do not suffer in silence.

"Regardless of when the offences happened, please come forward and we will investigate – your voice will be heard. Our specialist officers will also help ensure you receive any support you need."

The victim was brave enough to come forward to police in 2017 to report the historic abuse she had suffered, which included a rape when she was a teenager.

Specialist officers from Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department led an investigation into Smith, who started his offending when he was under the age of 16.

The rape was carried out when he was in his 20s.

He was charged in February 2018 with one count of rape and seven indecent assaults.

Smith, now 45, denied the charges but was found guilty of all eight offences at Newcastle Crown Court in November.

On Friday, a judge handed down a ten-and-a-half year jail sentence.

If you are a victim of abuse contact police on 101, or 999 in an emergency. Victims can also contact Victims First Northumbria on 0800 011 3116 who will give independent advice and support.