April 2011

15 years for predatory paedophile

A MAN described as a determined, predatory paedophile was yesterday jailed for a total of 15 years.

Peter Charles Dunlop preyed on three young girls, sexually abusing them over a period of several years while living in Weardale, in County Durham, and in Newcastle.

Durham Crown Court heard he threatened his victims to ensure they did not report him, but his abuse finally came to light after one victim confided in another last year.

Dunlop was arrested, denied the allegations and was bailed to return to court for trial in October. But he failed to appear and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

It was only after a media appeal that he was spotted in the east end of Newcastle six weeks later and arrested, since when he has remained in custody.

Dunlop, 56, formerly of Weardale, but most recently of Walker Road, Walker, Newcastle, admitted eight counts of indecent assault, one of attempted rape and one of gross indecency with a child.

He denied three counts of rape and the prosecution accepted his pleas to the charges.

Yesterday’s sentencing hearing was told Dunlop’s victims suffered psychologically and one was unable to go on to university because of the amount of schooling she missed as a result of his actions.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said there was a suggestion with at least one victim that he gave the girls alcohol and drugs to make them more amenable.

Robert Adams, mitigating, told the court: “The offences were committed against a background of drink and drug abuse.

“My instructions from him are to apologise for what he has done.”

He added that, despite having served three previous prison sentences for dishonesty, these were Dunlop’s first convictions for child abuse.

Issuing a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, restricting Dunlop to having any future contact with children, Judge Christopher Prince told Mr Adams: “He’s a determined, predatory paedophile and I need to offer the public some form of protection.”

Dunlop must also sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

Speaking after the verdict, investigating officer Detective Constable Darren Cresswell said: “I have spoken with two of the victims who were in court and they are satisfied with the sentence passed and the sensitive way the judge handled the case.”