Man who groomed and sexually assaulted two boys jailed after 30 years

Steven Gustafson Credit: Northumbria Police

A South Shields man who preyed on two teenagers has been brought to justice, after hiding his crimes for more than 30 years.

Steven Gustafson has admitted five counts of sexual assault dating back to the 1980s, when he groomed and sexually assaulted two teenage boys.

Gustafson, 63, committed the acts in Newcastle and Sunderland after befriending the boys, who were both aged 14.

It was not until 1999 that one of his victims disclosed what Gustafson had done, but the case collapsed in court due to evidential difficulties.

However, after a second boy came forward in 2017 confirming Gustafson had abused him as a child, a fresh investigation was launched and the historic case also reopened.

Now, after new evidence came to light, Gustafson pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual assault on a child when he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on April 13.

He has been remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced at the same court later this year.

PC David Gibson, who led the investigation, said: “First and foremost, I would like to pay tribute to both victims for their amazing bravery and cooperation throughout this difficult case.

“It was absolutely imperative that the person responsible for committing these abhorrent crimes against two teenage boys was brought to justice.

“I sincerely hope this outcome can offer some comfort to both – as well as send out a strong message to other victims of sexual offences.

“Regardless of how long ago the offence took place, we will do everything we can to bring perpetrators to justice. Gustafson lived with this dark secret for many years believing he was above the law and was not going to be caught. Now, he must deal with the consequences of his appalling actions.”

Gustafson, of Gordon Road, South Shields, is due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on a date to be fixed.