October 2017: Aird has now been released

September 2008

Ex-court guard jailed for rape

A Court security guard who conducted a “campaign of rape” on four children was yesterday jailed for 15 years.

Paul Aird used the two boys and two girls, “for his sexual gratification” in a litany of abuse spanning more than 20 years.

The 49-year-old guard, who worked at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court, was convicted of raping and indecently assaulting the four victims in his car and at his home, following a five-day trial at Teesside Crown Court, in July.

He claimed the allegations were engineered by his former wife’s family following his second marriage to a younger woman.

The trial jury was told that Aird, of Oxford Road, Hartlepool, told one girl to stay silent for years because the shock would kill her ill mother.

Despite his denials, Aird was found guilty of seven charges of rape, two of buggery, one of attempted rape, and three of indecent assault, on dates between December 1981 and February 2002.

He was cleared of indecent assaults on two women, at a barbecue and at a Christmas party. Judge Evans directed the jury to acquit him of another buggery offence and an indecent assault.

He was brought back for sentence yesterday, when Durham Crown Court was told that, despite the verdicts, Aird still denies the allegations.

Robin Denny, mitigating, said: “There’s nothing I can say about the offences. He still denies them and his wife stands by him.”

Mr Denny revealed that following sentencing Aird was to attend his father’s funeral.

Judge Evans told Aird: “You turned your attentions from one victim to another without any shame, remorse or compassion, using each to satisfy your sexual gratification.

It’s a tribute to them that they have managed to make something of their lives, not withstanding what happened to them.”

Aird was ordered to sign the sex offenders’register for life and is forbidden from working with children for life. He is also subject to various restrictions under the terms of a sexual offences’ prevention order.

Speaking after the sentence, Detective Sergeant Matt Mason, of Cleveland Police’s Hartlepool child abuse investigation unit, said: “The victims, who are now all adults, are delighted with this outcome.”