Officers have praised a victim whose bravery helped put a rapist behind bars after he attacked her when she was just five years old.
Paul Rossiter has been jailed for 15 years after being found guilty of rape.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how the 66-year-old preyed on the school girl back in 2015, forcing her into repeat sexual acts with him.
When the victim later confided in her mother, police were immediately called, and an investigation was launched.
Rossiter denied the attacks but was later found guilty of three counts of rape.
On Friday 18 November, a judge sentenced Rossiter, of Tenth Avenue, Heaton, to 14 years imprisonment with one year on extended licence.
He was also given a restraining order and an indefinite sexual harm prevention order – as well as ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120.
Speaking after the sentencing, the officer in charge of the case, Detective Constable Nicola Wade, said: “This was an absolutely horrendous ordeal for Rossiter’s victim, something no child should ever have to experience and I really hope this sentencing can serve as the beginning of a new chapter for them.
“Without the victim’s bravery and strength, Rossiter would not be behind bars and his offending may never have come to light – and this is something she should be incredibly proud of herself for.
“Rossiter is a dangerous predator who more than deserves his sentence and our communities are undoubtedly a safer place because of this.
“As a force, protecting and supporting vulnerable victims is our top priority and we will continue to work round the clock to put offenders before the courts and ensure that no one gets away with this type of criminality.
“If you have been a victim, we’d encourage you to take that first step and come forward – you will be listened to, and you will be believed.”
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...