A dangerous and predatory paedophile who ‘shattered’ his young victim’s life has been sentenced to more than 20 years behind bars.
Gary Short, 49, of South Fredrick Street, South Shields, sexually abused the young boy in a series of attacks.
Years later, as an adult, the brave survivor made contact with police, working closely and courageously with officers to help put his attacker behind bars.
Short was interviewed by detectives in April 2017 under suspicion of repeated sexual assaults on a child but denied all guilt.
He denied 13 charges of attempted rape, indecency with a child and indecent assault during a trial at Newcastle Crown Court but was found guilty of all offences by a jury last year.
And on Wednesday (August 12) a judge – after hearing the brave victim’s emotional statement, which was read aloud in court – sentenced Short to 22-and-a-half years in prison.
Short was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
In his powerful statement, the victim, who has lifelong anonymity and cannot be identified, said every aspect of his life had been ‘shattered’ by the abuse he had suffered.
He said: “To this day it affects me. I still exist day-to-day feeling trapped. I get emotional for apparently no reason and sometimes get angry for no reason.”
He added: “Not once has Short ever accepted responsibility for what he has done to me.
“He made me publicly relive the abuse in detail which has brought all the emotions and memories back in my life.
“I can never forgive him for what he has done. I was so young, vulnerable and so powerless and he knew that.
“All I can hope for now is that he finally realises the damage that he’s caused and that justice is served and he is removed and cannot hurt another child.”
Detective Constable Steve Hawkins, of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department, has worked closely with the victim since he came forward.
He said: “Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the victim in this case for not only having the bravery to come forward and tell us what happened but also the courage and resilience to continue to work with the officers throughout what was a lengthy investigation.
“Although just a child at the time of this physical abuse, the psychological effects have impacted long into this victim’s adult life.
“By coming forward and speaking to police after so many years, he has shown immense courage.
“Hopefully this conviction and sentence handed to Short will not only give a degree of closure to the victim in this case but also send a strong message to any other victims of sexual abuse that they will be heard and Northumbria Police and our partner agencies will do our best to ensure they receive justice.”