A man branded “predatory” and “dangerous” by police is behind bars after ignoring his victim’s pleas to stop his sexual attacks.

Martin Lee forced his victim to have sex with him despite her frequent requests to leave her alone.

The 40-year-old defendant found himself before the courts after his victim plucked up the courage to come forward and report his behaviour to police, last year.

He was arrested and charged with several offences, including rape.

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Having, initially, denied his guilt, he changed his pleas to admit three of the charges, including two counts of rape, on the day his trial was due to get underway at Newcastle Crown Court, in April.

He was back before the court last week (Friday July 14), when a sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment was imposed.

Lee, formerly of Hexham, was also made subject of registration as a sex offender for life.

A restraining order was also issued by the court preventing him from contacting or approaching his victim.

Detective Constable Lynsey Oliver, from Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Unit, led the investigation.

She said: “Lee’s offending had started to follow a very dangerous pattern.

“More than once he was told, unwaveringly, ‘no’ by his victim, who was clearly distressed and attempted to fight him off.

“He is a dangerous man and our area is most certainly safer with him behind bars.

“I want to praise the survivor for contacting police and for continuing to assist with the investigation, the trial and all court proceedings.

“It is thanks to her that a predatory man is behind bars.

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“I sincerely hope her bravery and this sentence will give other people the confidence to come forward and speak with police.”

She added: “I hope this sentence serves as a stark warning to those with an unlawfully blurred view on consent that: ‘No always means no.’

“If a person tells you ‘no’, attempts to push you away, freezes, or very clearly becomes distressed, it is clear they have not given you consent to touch them.

“Someone consenting to go on a date with you, allowing you into their home or even being in a relationship with you, absolutely does not equate to automatic sexual consent.

“No scenario or relationship does.

“No-one should ever have to endure this type of assault and support is available from our officers and the many fantastic charities we work closely with.

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“If you have ever been a victim of any type of sexual assault, we’re here for you.”

Anyone wishing to disclose a report of rape or sexual assault can visit Northumbria Police’s website for more information.

If it is an emergency, the advice is to always call 999.