A RAPE victim finally plucked up courage to report her ordeal after reading of her attacker being jailed for similar offending involving another woman.

It was a newspaper report of Stephen Milner receiving a 14-year jail sentence, with an extended four-year licence period, in December 2015, that persuaded the earlier victim to come forward to reveal what happened to her, more than 20 years earlier.

Durham Crown Court heard that years after the incidents she told her husband about the violence she suffered, but it was only later that she told him the abuse included sexual assaults.

Christine Egerton, prosecuting, said the woman told no-one else as she felt ashamed and feared she would not be believed.

But, in the wake of Milner’s 2015 conviction, Miss Egerton said the woman read the subsequent court report.

“Her reaction was one of shock. She dropped the newspaper to the floor.

“The article she read brought back memories of what he had done to her two decades previously.”

She went to police and was interviewed in January 2016.

Due to her allegations, police re-visited another woman who Milner was convicted of physically assaulting a decade earlier, and she, too, revealed she was also subject of sexual violence.

It resulted in Milner, formerly of Pine Street, Grange Villa, near Chester-le-Street, facing a further 18 charges, which he denied.

But when his trial came to court this week, he admitted two counts of rape on each of the two women.

Angus McDonald, mitigating, said even at the late stage in proceedings, it spared them having to give evidence.

He added that the defendant is now making use of rehabilitative options in prison to address behavioural and drink-related issues behind his offending.

Jailing him for a further 12 years, Judge Simon Hickey also imposed unlimited restraining orders preventing him contacting either victim.

Milner, 49, who is already to subject to lifelong registration as a sex offender, could, now, potentially remain behind bars until he is 66.