A sexual predator who abused his victim while she pretended to sleep has been put behind bars for 18 years and given an indefinite sexual harm order.

Stephen James Raun began his campaign of abuse on his young victim back in 2016 when he would visit her home, enter her bedroom, and begin sexually assaulting her, a court heard.

In fear of Raun, his victim would pretend to be asleep, but this still would not stop the attacks on her.

Raun’s abuse came to light in 2020 after the victim bravely spoke out and an investigation was launched by Northumbria Police's Safeguarding Department.

As part of the investigation, Raun, 30, was arrested and questioned by detectives and denied all the allegations put to him.

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However, he was subsequently charged, and the case was sent for trial.

In court, he was found guilty of four counts of sexual assault and one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He was sentenced to 18 years behind bars.

In the aftermath of the case, the lead detective of Northumbria Police, Keith Harbottle, hopes the sentence gives a sense of closure for the victim.

Det Con Harbottle said:  "The assault carried out by Raun has truly tarnished this victim's childhood and I commend her bravery for speaking out.

"I hope the outcome not only gives the victim a sense of closure but encourages others who have been subjected to sexual abuse to come forward and report it."

Raun of Bentinck Terrace, Newcastle, was also handed an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will have to sign the sex offenders' register for life.

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