A dangerous sex offender who targeted young and vulnerable victims is tonight starting a lengthy term behind bars.

‘Predatory’ Neville Jones, of Pearson Street, Spennymoor, was found guilty by a jury last month of 17 sexual offences including one rape, and several counts of sexual assault on a child under 13.

A judge described the impact of one of the 40-year-old’s crimes as having “arguably the most significant impact that I have ever seen” on the victim.

His victims, three girls and one boy who cannot be named, were all under sixteen when he committed his crimes.

The Northern Echo: Neville Jones.Neville Jones. (Image: DURHAM POLICE)

Two were aged under ten when he sexually assaulted them.

One of his brave victims said in a statement read to Durham Crown Court on Friday (December 1): “As I grew up and got older, I realised what he had done to me as a child.

“I trusted him. He groomed me.

“I have no trust in men anymore – they are only interested in one thing. Neville Jones used me for that.

“This had a big effect on me because that I trusted people even less.

“I didn’t have many friends growing up and I think that’s why he targeted me.”

Jones’ first crimes date back 20 years and a court heard he had continued to offend since.

Prosecutor Mr Robin Turton read out the personal impact statement of another of his victims, which said: “He was telling me how great I was and how he would look after me.

“I have gone through lots of different types of therapy.

“I was scared to leave the house. Trying to live a normal, successful, and productive life has been impossible.

“He left me frightened and feeling flat.

“I feel that he got off lightly. He was out there living his life.”

The court heard Jones is now a father himself, although he has no relationship with his child.

Appearing via video link from prison he spoke only to confirm his name.

Sentencing him, Judge James Adkin described Jones as “predatory” and “scheming”, and said he presents a “high risk of harm to children”.

“What you did to those children hasn’t only ruined their lives, you have left a trail of misery for the parents of your victims in your wake,” he said.

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“I have taken into account how you targeted the vulnerable, how you caused immense harm.”

The judge determined he is a ‘dangerous offender’ and handed him an extended determinate sentence of 38 years.

He will serve at least 22 years before a parole board will determine whether he can be released.