A MAN said to pose, “a significant risk” of committing further offences on women, was made subject of an extended determinate sentence featuring a custodial element of up to 12 years.

The sentence was passed on Declan Lewis Thompson as a judge branded him, “a dangerous offender”, following convictions for both sexual and physical assaults.

Durham Crown Court was told Thompson, 22, whose last address was given as Evenwood, near Bishop Auckland, has previous convictions for violence and harassment involving two other female victims.

He denied rape, three further serious sexual assaults, plus two of assault causing actual bodily harm.

At the start of his trial the defendant admitted one of the physical assault charges.

Following the three-day hearing he was found guilty on unanimous jury verdicts of three sexual assaults and a further count of assault causing actual bodily harm.

He was acquitted by the jury of the rape charge.

The court heard the physical assaults included biting the woman, attempting to choke her, dragging and slapping her, causing injuries to her right hand and the back of the leg, last November.

He also made threats that he would stab her with a knife.

In an impact statement read to the court, the victim said she feels that his conviction has lifted a “weight off” her shoulders.

She said she now feels safer, with Thompson being in custody, but her experiences have led her to volunteer to work with women who are victims of sexual abuse.

Judge Ray Singh described his victim as, “a brave individual” withstanding the indignation of being told her allegations, “simply did not happen” in the trial.

He told Thompson: “She was relieved the jury believed her and she can hold her head up high. You can’t.”

The judge said Thompson has “hardly shown any remorse”, despite his, “significant previous convictions.”

“This may be your first conviction for sexual offences, but you are no stranger to the courts, showing you are prepared to use violence on other women.”

The sentence passed means Thompson will have to spend at least eight years behind bars before he can be considered for parole, but may have to serve the full 12 years, and on release he will be subject of three years’ extended licence period.

He will also be subject to lifelong registration as a sex offender as well as an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

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