March 2013

Serial sex attacker jailed for 18 years

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A SERIAL sex attacker who once apologised for his behaviour in a letter to Prince Charles has been jailed for 18 years.

Michael Khannan is already serving nine years behind bars for a sex attack on a woman in Peterlee, County Durham, in 1978.

Since starting the sentence, after a trial in 2010, the 61-year-old has been convicted of further attacks after more victims came forward.

At Newcastle Crown Court in January, Khannan, aka Preston, was found guilty of a series of indecent assaults on two South Shields schoolgirls in the 1990s.

He had also pleaded guilty to an unsolved sex attack in 1977, when he attempted to rape a woman as she walked in Tanfield Lea, County Durham.

The terrified victim was dragged to an isolated area, where Khannan threatened to kill her and warned: “Do as I say because I’ve got a knife here, and if I have to I will use it.”

The case had remained unsolved for more than 30 years until police got a DNA match which linked evidence from the scene to the serial attacker.

Judge Paul Sloan QC said all three victims Khannan was sentenced in relation to today still suffer as a result of their ordeals.

He must abide by a sexual offences prevention order and sign the sex offenders’ register – both for life.

The judge said about the 1977 attack: “Throughout the ordeal she was absolutely terrified, fearing she would indeed be killed.

“It is clear from her statement, the trauma of that night has remained with her throughout.”

Mark Cotter, defending, said Khannan has never revealed what lies behind his behaviour.

He said: “Although the offences are monstrous, he is not in fact a monster, he’s a human being and capable of normal human emotion.”

Khannan once wrote a letter of apology to Prince Charles after his past was revealed by a national newspaper.

The former club singer, then aged 34, and the Prince met in 1986, when he visited Tedco Enterprise Centre, in Eldon Street, South Shields.

Khannan had been released from prison, where he served just over half of a six-year sentence for rape and two indecent assaults on teenagers in 1973.

He changed his surname to Preston and had set up a shed-making business.

But when his unsavoury past was exposed, Khannan wrote to Prince Charles, apologising for any “embarrassment” the story may have caused him.

Khannan claimed the newspaper report left his life in tatters, and told Prince Charles he was a reformed man.

And in his grovelling letter to the Prince, he protested he had been “properly punished” and had served “my due sentence”.

Khannan’s previous convictions include an indecent assault after he forced a 14-year-old girl onto a railway embankment in South Shields and molested her in September 1972.

On December 18 that same year he grabbed a 16-year-old girl, dragged her into another back lane in South Shields and indecently assaulted her.

Three days after that attack he raped a woman in a back lane and ended up with a six-year prison sentence.

Khannan confessed to all three attacks.

In 1999 he molested a nine-year-old girl in South Shields, which led to him being convicted of gross indecency with a child and indecent assault after a trial in June 2000 where he was jailed for three years.

January 2013

Sex beast guilty of 15 attacks on schoolgirls

ON TRIAL … former club singer Michael Khannan is guilty of 15 sex assaults on two schoolgirls

A SERIAL sex attacker has been convicted of sickening crimes against two schoolgirls.

Michael Khannan, aka Preston, has a history of serious sexual assaults on women and girls dating back 40 years.

In 2010 the former club singer was convicted of trying to rape an 18-year-old woman after dragging her away from a bus stop in Peterlee in 1978.

He had denied the charge but was convicted after a trial.

Newcastle Crown Court heard last week it was publicity surrounding the 2010 case which prompted two more victims to come forward.

Both said they had been abused by Khannan in South Shields in the 1990s, when they were young girls.

Khannan denied a total of 15 charges of indecent assault and indecency with a child but was found guilty by a jury yesterday.

Judge Paul Sloan QC adjourned sentence until next month.

The judge warned Khannan, who is currently serving a nine-year jail sentence: “You will appreciate you face a substantial prison sentence.”

During the trial last week jurors had heard details of Khannan’s shocking past.

Prosecutor Tim Gittins told the court Khannan was convicted of indecent assault after he forced a 14-year-old girl onto a railway embankment in South Shields and molested her in September 1972.

On December 18 that same year he grabbed a 16-year-old girl, dragged her into another back lane in South Shields and indecently assaulted her.

Three days after that attack he raped a woman in a back lane.

Khannan confessed to all three attacks.

In October 1977 Khannan indecently assaulted and tried to rape and 18-year-old as she walked in Tanfield Lea, County Durham. He pleaded guilty to the attack.

In January 1978 he forced an 18-year-old away from a bus stop in Peterlee and indecently assaulted then tried to rape her. He was convicted after a trial in 2010.

And in 1999 he molested a nine-year-old girl in South Shields, which led to him being convicted of gross indecency with a child and indecent assault after a trial in June 2000.

Mr Gittins told jurors: “It is unusual for you to hear a defendant has previous convictions.

“The crown say these are factors which demonstrate this defendant has a propensity, a tendency, to commit serious sexual offences, particularly upon younger women and girls, of the type that these two ladies complain about.

“Equally, the defence say, or may say in due course, the two complainants have come forward only because they were aware of this, because of the media coverage, and may have thought, essentially, that the defendant was an easy target and they have come forward in a bid to claim compensation or the like, as a result of the defendant’s current position.”

Khannan did not give evidence in his own defence during the week-long trial, and did not react when the jury foreman read out the 15 guilty verdicts.

Jurors had been warned not to assume Khannan was guilty of the latest accusations simply because of his criminal past.

Febuary 2010

Rapist club singer is jailed for life

A SOUTH Tyneside club singer who preyed on lone women and children for sexual gratification has been jailed for life.

Michael Khannan who was Michael Preston back in 2000 will be at least 65 before he is eligible to apply for parole.

And as Michael Khannan begins a life sentence for a knifepoint sex attack 32 years ago, it emerged that four more Tyneside women have recently come forward claiming he sexually assaulted them.

The allegations, which police are now investigating, date back to the seventies, eighties and nineties.

They came forward after learning how Khannan was convicted last month for the vicious and terrifying assault on a 19-year-old girl in January 1978.

But today the Chronicle can reveal the true extent of his evil ways over the decades.

The former clubland singer and private piano teacher even assaulted a nine-year-old pupil.

At the age of just 21 Khannan was told in 1973 by a judge that he was a menace to any young woman who may have crossed his path.

His sex pest antics started in October 1972 when he indecently exposed himself in South Shields where he lived at the time.

In April 1973 he was hauled before Newcastle Crown Court for raping a married woman, sexually assaulting two others and the common assault of a 14-year-old girl.

At the time Mr Justice Geoffrey Lane said he was unable to share medical optimism about Khannan’s future which claimed there was no risk of a repetition.

Khannan, who was married and had a young daughter at the time, was jailed for six years after the judge heard how he jumped on his victims from behind late at night and threatened to kill them if they screamed.

In 1981, 1982 and 1984 he was before the courts for offences of burglary and dishonesty and was jailed for periods of up to two years.

In 2000 the Chronicle caught up with him again when he was jailed for another three years at Newcastle Crown Court for gross indecency with a child, and two indecent assaults of a girl. As a music tutor who gave keyboard lessons in his home, Khannan had been giving the nine-year-old classes when he molested her as he watched pornographic videos.

Also that year he was charged with harassment for distributing images of himself and a woman having sex.

And this week we were there again as the 58-year-old was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court for the attempted rape and indecent assault a 19-year-old barmaid in Peterlee in January, 1978.

Thirty two years on Khannan, of Claremount North Avenue, Bensham, Gateshead, thought he’d got away with his crime but was arrested through a DNA specimen.

During the three-day trial the court heard Khannan, who worked as a club singer under the name Simon Preston, denied the charges throughout police interviews last September.

The prosecution said he tried to wriggle out of it by claiming the DNA evidence could only have come from a supposed identical twin brother.

The jury rejected all of his excuses and found him guilty of the sex attack.

Yesterday, Judge David Bryant said his victim, now a woman of 51, was still traumatised by her ordeal.

Judge Bryant sentenced Khannan to life with a recommendation he serve a minimum seven years before being considered eligible for parole.

June 2000

FAMILY FURY AT PERVERT’S SENTENCE

A DEVASTATED mum today slammed the jail sentence handed to a part-time music teacher who molested her eight-year-old daughter when she went to his house for lessons.

Musician Michael Preston, 48, took advantage when the timid youngster went to his home to learn how to play the piano and guitar.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how between April and October last year she was repeatedly abused at Preston’s home in Albion Court, South Shields.

The court was told Preston forced himself on the youngster, performing sexual acts on her and himself and made her watch sex videos.

But today her mum said the six-year extended jail sentence given to Preston was not enough and revealed how her terrified daughter almost gave up halfway through the case.

The mum said: “I am extremely disappointed, he should have been jailed for 10 years.

“My daughter has been so brave, she wanted to give up half way through the case, but when we told her she would be preventing other kids from going through the same thing she continued.

“She feels she’s done it all for nothing. She a different little girl and is under a psychologist now. It has affected the whole family.”

Preston denied two charges of indecent assault and one charge of indecency with a child.

But he was found guilty on all charges by a jury after two hours of deliberations at the end of a three-day trial.

He was sentenced to a six-year extended jail term, three years of which will be in custody.

The court heard how the child’s mother began to get suspicious when her daughter returned home from Preston’s music lessons with sweets, money and presents.

She went to Preston’s home to confront him about the gifts – but he assured her everything was above board with the youngster’s visits and the lessons continued.

It was only in October last year that the truth came to light when the daughter began to describe sexual matters in a conversation with her aunt and grandmother.

Preston was convicted of indecent exposure in 1972. The following year he was jailed for six years after three sex attacks on women and young girls.

Judge David Hodson said he was taking into account the fact Preston had not committed any offences of that nature for 25 years.

But he said a custodial sentence was inevitable. Preston was also required to sign the sex offenders register indefinitely.