May 2023

‘Monstrous’ Durham paedophile who abused child jailed

A “monstrous” rapist who subjected his child victim to years of abuse has been sentenced to more than two decades in prison.

Keith Lonsdale of High Hope Street, Crook controlled the girl from when she was as young as 12-years-old, raping her at least 27 times and committing other vile acts.

The 67-year-old “portrayed himself as a stalwart of the community” as an athletics coach, Durham Police said in a statement.

They said he had “a hold over the girl, making her believe the abuse was her fault”.

At one point the victim said she wanted to take her own life and confided in a family member before police were contacted.

An investigation was launched and Lonsdale was arrested and charged with 12 offences – including eight counts of rape, two counts of sexual assault and one of sexual activity with a child.

Lonsdale pleaded not guilty, but a jury at Durham Crown Court found him guilty of ten of the charges.

Judge Jo Kidd told Lonsdale he would spend 14 years behind bars before he can apply for parole.