Feb 2012

A RAPIST who abused an underage girl in the 1990s was jailed for nine years after promising from the dock that he was a changed man.

Andrew Lee Pearson was locked up for sex attacks he committed against a girl almost two decades ago.

Now 40, he blamed his sex crimes on his drug addiction at the time and said he’d since changed and raised a family. He told Teesside Crown Court: “It shouldn’t have happened, and it did, and it was all round drugs. I know I’m going to get jail today but it was all drugs back then, nothing more.”

Prosecutor Ian Mullarkey told how Pearson repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted the girl, who cannot be named, in the 1990s.

Living in the Middlesbrough area at the time, he first took advantage of the teenager when she was drunk. After this, he had sex with her repeatedly, despite her saying she didn’t want to do so. She submitted to him because he was much bigger than her, the court was told yesterday.

The assaults came to light years later when the girl was an adult and told the police what had happened to her.

Pearson, of Sandringham Road, Hartlepool, denied two charges of rape and two of indecent assault. He was convicted after a trial.

He had no similar convictions, had numerous other offences including burglary and wounding and had served prison terms but his bad criminal record stopped in 2006.

Brian Russell, defending, said: “He has turned his life around and regrettably, because of the nature of this complaint and the long time it’s taken to surface, there will be a degree of tragedy in today’s sentence.”

He said Pearson successfully altered his life in the last five years and raised a family. “Having achieved that not unimpressive feat, he’s now inevitably going to receive a lengthy custodial sentence,” added Mr Russell.

He said references from his partner and employer showed Pearson was no longer the “unsavoury character” he was in the 1990s.

Judge Tony Briggs said Pearson was “an irresponsible drug-addicted young man” at the time but had sorted his life out and changed significantly in recent years. He jailed him for nine years.