Hartlepool man on trial of catalogue of 'sickening' sex crimes

ON TRIAL: Sean Johnstone

ON TRIAL: Sean Johnstone

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

A MAN has gone on trial accused of a catalogue of sickening sex crimes against women - one of which involves his pet rottweiler.

The jury in the case of Sean Johnstone was warned they would hear "unusually unpleasant" details even by crown court standards.

Teesside Crown Court heard that the disabled 42-year-old involved the dog in a sex act with one woman at his Hartlepool home.

After his arrest when a series of allegations were made last year, police found sex pictures involving a horse and pigs on his computers.

He faces a total of 28 charges of rape, indecent assault and making and possessing indecent images of children and extreme pornography.

The jury was told disabled Mr Johnstone either denies the sex attacks took place or claims they were with the consent of his accusers.

He told police in a series of interviews that he had no idea how the child pornography and pictures of bestiality got onto his computers.

Prosecutor David Brooke described Mr Johnstone as a "manipulative bully" with "perverted sexual desires" during his opening to the jury.

He told the panel of six men and six women: "It is important you deal with this case in a clinical way and without emotion.

"Some of these things, frankly, will disgust you.

"It's right to warn you that even by the standards of the crown court, which is used to dealing with nasty things, this is an unusually unpleasant case."

The jury was yesterday shown some of the 350-plus images found on Mr Johnstone's computers, and heard from one of his alleged victims.

She told the court that she was locked in the house, beaten, raped and sexually abused by the defendant, who uses the name Sean Goth.

One accuser claims Mr Johnstone tried to force her to strip naked in front of a camera for a seedy internet chat-room which he used.

When she refused, she told police, he "went schizo" and started punching her, called her a "dirty slut" and raped her.

Mr Johnstone, of Wharton Terrace, Hartlepool, denies all the charges and faces a trial expected to last five days.

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