BREAKING DURHAM

Darlington paedophile jailed for 20 years

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A paedophile who subjected three young children to years of sexual abuse has today been jailed for 20 years.

Robert Foster preyed on the young victims over a period of ten years, beginning when they were primary school-aged children.

His offending came to light when one of the children bravely told a trusted adult about what had happened to them, who reported it to police who launched an investigation.

The 55-year-old was charged with one count of rape, five counts of sexual assault and eight counts of sexual activity with a child.

Foster denied all knowledge of the offences, instead insisting that all three children were lying, and put them through the ordeal of a four-day trial at Teesside Crown Court.

Thankfully, the jury saw through his lies and returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all 14 charges.

Foster, of Salters Close, Darlington, was jailed for 20 years and handed a lifetime sexual harm prevention order (SHPO).

In a victim impact statement read out in court, a relative of one of the children said: “Foster used this as an opportunity to manipulate innocent children for his own wrong, and sick desires. These kids were children and young adults; he could potentially have ruined their lives.

“I would like to thank the police, the judge, and the jury for believing in these children and helping them get the justice they deserve.”

Investigating Officer Heidi Weir and PC Rebecca Cruise, from Durham Constabulary, led the investigation. They said: “This was a complex investigation involving multiple victims who, over a period of time, suffered systematic abuse by a man they trusted.

“Robert Foster showed no remorse for his actions throughout the investigation and subsequent trial, insisting that all three victims had lied in their accounts. Fortunately, the jury were able to see through Foster’s fabricated story and unanimously convicted him on all 14 counts.

“In coming forward all three victims showed great courage and bravery. Hopefully this conviction will go some way in enabling them to move forward in their lives knowing that their voice has been heard.”

If you have suffered at the hands of an abuser, come forward and speak to police as soon as possible.

You can either call 101 or use our 101 Live Chat facility on our website. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Whichever route you choose to report through, you will be listened to and believed. We will support you every step of the way and ensure you get the justice you deserve.