Predatory paedophile jailed for 24 years
A PREDATORY paedophile who abused boys over two decades has been jailed for 24 years after a court heard of the heart-rending trail of misery he left behind him.
Jeffrey Errington left his 11 victims mentally scarred and suffering drug and alcohol issues, as well as a litany of personal problems including difficulties with forming relationships. One committed suicide.
Passing sentence at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, Judge Sarah Mallett said: “Your offending has left a trail of destruction through those young lives.
“We have not sadly been able to listen to one of the victims who took his own life and I have no doubt your offending contributed in some degree – not solely – to his decision to do that.
“Nor was he the only one who felt like taking that course. The effects of your offending was long-lasting, far-reaching and profound.”
Welcoming the sentence, one victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “It’s a massive weight off my shoulders.
“Not just for me but for all the other boys too, three of whom are close friends – one of them unfortunately is not with us anymore.
“We all miss him terribly. This sentence is just as good as life.
“He stole all of our lives. He absolutely destroyed our lives. It’s about time his life was destroyed too.”
The court was told that following a joint investigation by Durham Constabulary and Northumbria Police, 54-year-old Errington, of Garden Street, Newfield, Bishop Auckland, was charged with 33 offences.
They included indecent assault, rape of a child, sexual activity with a child, sexual assault, attempted rape and inciting indecent assault.
He denied all offences and went on trial at Newcastle Crown Court, where he was unanimously convicted on all counts by a jury on Monday.
Prosecutor Ian West said: “The defendant bought the boys’ silence with a mixture of bribes and threats.”
One victim told the court how he resorted to drugs and alcohol to mask his feelings.
He added: “I haven’t enough fingers on my hands to describe how many times I have tried to commit suicide.”
Another victim said: “It is a burden you have to bear once it has happened.
“And I didn’t want to cause anyone else any pain which is why I never wanted anyone else to know what happened.”
A further victim told the court: “It won’t go away. It just hangs around all the time like a scar on the brain and will do until the day I die.”
The judge said Errington must serve at least 16 years before he is considered for parole and will be subject of an extended seven-year licence.
He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life, and was given a restraining order which prohibits him from contacting any of his victims.