A sex offender who served a lengthy prison sentence for repeatedly raping a young girl is now back behind bars for similar historic offences on a boy.

John Patrick Harrop, then 25, and from Darlington, received an indefinite prison sentence for public protection at Teesside Crown Court, in 2012, after admitting six specimen counts of rape and two of sexual assault on a girl under 13.

The judge passing sentence branded him as posing “a very high risk of sexual and emotional harm” to young vulnerable males and females.

That sentence was subsequently varied on appeal to one of ten years, with eight years’ extended licence period.

Durham Crown Court was told he was released from that sentence at the mid-point in the custodial element, and subsequently performed well under probation licence supervision with his risk factor to children lowered to “medium”, as he was said to have since been “re-integrated” into the community.

The Northern Echo: John Harrop jailed at Durham Crown Court for historic sex offences committed on a boy

But, following a further complaint, made in 2021, about Harrop’s past sexual conduct, this time from someone who was a young boy at the time of the abuse, the defendant faced further charges, this time which he denied.

After a three-day trial at the court early last month, the now 37-year-old defendant, of Woodbine Road, Pity Me, Durham, was convicted on unanimous guilty verdicts of three counts of rape and two of sexual assault.

An impact statement was read to yesterday's (Monday May 13) sentencing hearing by his latest victim.

He told the court he felt that the defendant “took my childhood away”, adding: “As I grew older I realised what happened to me was so wrong, without speaking up about it.”

Robin Patton, prosecuting, said there has been no further offending by the defendant, who has undertaken courses under the direction of the Probation Service.

Jonathan Walker, for Harrop, said the offences for which the defendant was previously convicted have “many of the hallmarks” of the offences before the court now.

“They are ugly, horrible offences, but, arguably, not as grave as the offences for which he was convicted in 2012.”

Mr Walker described them as, “relics of the past”, since when the defendant has spent a lengthy period of incarceration.

“He was as close to having been a model ex-prisoner as can be imagined and his behaviour since his release has seen a complete lack of any offences.

“He impressed all of those with a professional obligation to look after him.

“These offences presented themselves in 2021 and he’s now to be separately sentenced for something which was part of the same pattern of sex offending.

“He’s served a lengthy period of imprisonment and this type of warped behaviour won’t be repeated.”

The Northern Echo:

Recorder Tony Hawks said he accepted there was something of “an overlap” in the offences for which the defendant has spent a long time locked up and those for which he is before the court now.

But he said the complainant in this case made no disclosure at the time and the offending only came to light in relatively recent years.

Recorder Hawks said he noted from the probation documents before the court that the defendant continues to deny these offences and so he will receive no discount on his sentence, despite having committed no further offences in recent years.

He noted, however, that the defendant is no longer considered “a dangerous offender”, although he would be sentencing him as, “an offender of particular concern”.

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As such, Harrop must serve two-thirds of the eight-year sentence imposed by Recorder Hawks before being eligible for release on parole.

He told the defendant: “If you admitted these offences when you admitted the others you would not be in the position you are in now.”

Harrop will also be subject to lifetime notification requirements as a sex offender.