THE committed officer who helped secure justice for two victims who were sexually assaulted as teenagers in the 1980s has received a coveted award.

PC David Gibson has spent the last four years securing a conviction against sexual predator Steven Gustafson who preyed on two 14-year-old boys over three decades ago.

It was not until 1999 that one of his victims bravely came forward and disclosed to police what Gustafson had done to him – but the case collapsed in court due to evidential difficulties.

However, PC Gibson launched a fresh investigation and reopened the historic case after a second boy came forward in 2017 confirming Gustafson, 63, had also abused him as a child.

Gustafson of Gordon Road, South Shields, pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual assault at Newcastle Crown Court

Now PC Gibson’s determination and hard work has been formally recognised after he was awarded a Commander’s Compliment by the highest-ranking officer in Sunderland and South Tyneside, Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt.

One of Gustafson’s victims also wrote a heartfelt letter to the Force in which he described PC Gibson as “like the brother I’ve never had”.

Chief Supt Pitt said: “The bravery shown by both victims to come forward and talk about what happened to them over 30 years ago is absolutely amazing. They thoroughly deserve this moment, seeing their attacker convicted and brought to justice for his appalling crimes.

“It was heartening to hear that one of the victims came in last week to thank PC Gibson for managing to deliver justice. It is always nice when our officers receive praise from members of the public, especially in such a highly emotive case.

“They also wrote a heartfelt letter praising David’s professionalism and patience throughout this investigation, and for helping to provide some closure for them.

“PC Gibson’s achievements in securing this result cannot be understated. Any officer who takes on a job like this often feels a personal responsibility to deliver the right outcome for the victims, and repay the trust that they have put in you.

“There is no question that PC Gibson richly deserves this Commander’s Compliment and he should be incredibly proud of himself.”

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