June 2017: Simpson has had his 19 year sentence reduced by senior judges by four years – Now 15 years
Girls’ abuser jailed for 19 years, four decades after crimes were committed
A MAN who sexually abused two girls in the 1970s told police: “I’ve been waiting for this moment for 40 years” as officers called to arrest him, a court heard.
Those were the words of John Robert Simpson, when action was finally taken over the complaints of the two girls, more than 40 years after the abuse took place.
The now 62-year-old defendant is now answering for the crimes committed in his 20s after receiving a 19-year prison sentence at Durham Crown Court.
But the court heard that he could have been brought to justice much earlier, as when Simpson’s activities in the 70s were previously reported to “the authorities” in 1993, his accusers were told that as it was an historic case, it would be hard to prove, and no further action was taken.
Prosecuting counsel Paul Abrahams told the court sentencing hearing: “I can only apologise for that from the presiding authorities’ side.”
The court heard that when the case finally came to court, in July, Simpson had still tried to avoid answering for the most serious of his crimes.
He pleaded guilty to eight counts of indecent assault, but denied two similar charges, plus an allegation of attempted rape, which carries a longer sentence.
A trial, in which both victims would have had to give evidence, was scheduled to start on November 22.
But with that date looming and both injured parties still prepared to go to court on the remaining counts, the prosecution was informed that Simpson would be pleading guilty to the entire indictment, on October 5.
He finally admitted the remaining three charges, including the attempted rape, at a hearing on October 11.
Passing sentence, Judge Christopher Prince told Simpson his attempt to receive a lesser sentence, hoping his original pleas would be accepted, failed.
“You hoped they would capitulate, but, with the trial approaching, it was you who capitulated, trying to obtain such limited credit as there is for a late ‘guilty’ plea.”
On his release from prison, at the behest of the Parole Board after at least half of his sentence, Simpson, formerly of Esh Winning, but recently of Wesley Grove, Bishop Auckland, will be subject to notification as a sex offender and will also be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, both for life.