September 2023

Elswick paedophile jailed for 10 years after brave victim came forward to report crimes

A sex offender has been locked up for 10 years after his victim bravely came forward to reports his crimes.

John Weeden, previously known as John Hawthorn, 56, of Elswick, Newcastle, came to Northumbria Police’s attention in 2020 after a woman came forward to report that as a child he had sexually assaulted her on several occasions.

An investigation was launched, and Weeden was subsequently charged with three sexual offences.

He denied any guilt but was found guilty by a jury of his peers in July. And on Monday, a judge heard a powerful statement written by the victim, in which she spoke of her lifelong trust issues and the continued devastation this has brought her.

She said: “The events have left a scar on me and changed me as a person.” But looking to the future, she added: “I have finally got the justice I have waited for so long and I hope this man never gets the opportunity to ruin another child’s life, like he did to mine.”

Following her impassioned statement, a judge sentenced Weeden to 10 years behind bars.

Detective Constable Lisa Herron, of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding department, said: “I really am in awe of the victim’s courage.

“As a child, she was terrified into silence, and it took a lot of bravery for her to report and share the details of her abuse. But thanks to her strength and resilience, she saw her attacker charged, convicted and now sentenced for his vile crimes. I truly hope this sentence gives the survivor a sense of justice and comfort.”

She added: “I also hope that this shows others who have suffered non-recent abuse that it’s never too late for justice. You will be listened to, supported and we will do everything we can to ensure your abuser is put before a court.

“You’re not alone and you don’t deserve to suffer in silence while your abuser gets to go about their day-to-day life answering to no-one. We are always here.”