Blyth man found guilty of historic child rape

Paul Cavner.Paul Cavner.
Paul Cavner.
A south east Northumberland resident is among four men who have been convicted of historic rape and indecent assault against someone who was a child at the time.

On Friday, a jury at Newcastle Crown Court found the men guilty of a total of 37 counts that happened over a period of six years.

The abuse committed by Paul Cavner, 55, of Crofton Street, Blyth; Colin Ankers, 45, of Waterville Road, North Shields; Philip Taylor, 60, of Whiteley Avenue, Sowerby, West Yorkshire; and Darren Smith, 36, of Irene Avenue, Stoke-on-Trent; was described as ‘heinous and wicked’ by the judge.

Colin Ankers.Colin Ankers.
Colin Ankers.

The four men had denied the charges against them.

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Cavner was found guilty of one count of rape and one count of indecent assault. He was found not guilty of one other count of indecent assault.

Ankers was found guilty of 14 counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault.

Smith was found guilty of five counts of rape and five counts of indecent assault.

Darren Smith.Darren Smith.
Darren Smith.

Taylor was found guilty of three counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault.

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Judge Tim Gittens said to the men: “You have been convicted of heinous and wicked crimes against the victim.

“You will be produced at court on July 18, where you will receive substantial prison sentences, but in the meantime you will be remanded in custody.”

A man who was known to the victim at the time would offer her to the other men for sexual purposes in return for money, cigarettes and alcohol.

Philip Taylor.Philip Taylor.
Philip Taylor.

Detective Constable Jaclyn Younger, of Northumbria Police’s safeguarding department, said: “This victim has been an absolute pillar of strength by standing up to the men who abused her as a child.

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“This woman has suffered much of her childhood by being brutally raped and assaulted, and this has undoubtedly had a huge impact on her as an adult as well.

“She can hold her head high and know by speaking out, she has made a difference and can now hopefully move on with her life.

“I hope the verdict gives anyone out there suffering in silence the strength to come forward and know that it is never too late to report to police.”

The victim wrote to Detective Constable Younger during the trial to thank her for her support and was pleased she came forward to police, regardless of the outcome at court.

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The victim stated: ‘No matter what the verdict, I’ve done this for me and only me, no one else, so I can move on.

‘Can’t thank you and your team enough for all you have done – the support and not judging me and being just brilliant. Thank you so much.

‘You and your team deserve the recognition for all of the hours of hard work and help and support you have given as without it, I couldn’t have done it.’

If you have been a victim of rape, sexual assault or exploitation, whether this is recent or historic, please come forward and call Northumbria Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

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To contact the 24/7 Crisis Helpline, call 03333 448283 or find out more about the force’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre by searching REACH SARC online.

Victims can also call Victims First Northumbria on 0800 0113116 to get independent advice and support.