A SEX predator from South Tyneside is today beginning an 18-year jail sentence - thanks, in part, to the Gazette.
It was after reading our stories in February 2010, about Khannan being jailed for attempted rape and indecent assault, that they plucked up the courage to report their own ordeals to police.
Both had been violated by Khannan in the 1990s, when they were schoolgirls.
Khannan, who was branded a “dangerous paedophile” - is back behind bars after being found guilty of 15 counts of indecent assault against a child and attempting to rape and threatening to kill a teenager.
The 61-year-old was already serving nine years behind bars for a sex attack on a woman in Peterlee in 1978.
Neither of the latest victims knew one another but both, individually, found the courage they needed from reading our article to inform police of the secrets they had kept for so long.
Detective Inspector Christopher Sybenga, the man who led the investigation into Khannan, said: “Within days of the article I was told two women had contacted police reporting serious sexual assaults and alleging the perpetrator was Michael Khannan.
“What was significant to me was neither of the women knew each other, and both alleged historic sexual abuse.”
Specially-trained officers spoke to the victims after police launched an investigation into their allegations.
“I have no doubt coming forward would have been a very difficult decision for them both to make,” added Det Ch Sybenga, “as they needed to relive a time in their lives I’m sure they had for years tried to block out.
“But both women were able to give video interviews during which they claimed Khannan had sexually assaulted them when they were aged around eight or nine years old.”
Armed with new evidence that Khannan - aka Michael Preston - had committed more offences than those he had been convicted for, officers visited Holme House Prison, where he was serving a nine-year sentence for a knifepoint sex attack.
He was arrested and taken to South Shields police station and interviewed.
A file of evidence was handed to the Crown Prosecution Service and a decision to charge Khannan with 15 counts of indecent assault and indecency with a child in relation to both victims was made.
Khannan was found guilty of the attacks on the South Shields girls after a trial in January.
He had also pleaded guilty to a sex attack in 1977 when he attempted to rape a 17-year-old woman in Tanfield Lea, County Durham, threatening her with a knife and indecently assaulting her.
Sentencing him yesterday, Judge Paul Sloan QC said all three victims still suffer as a result of their ordeals.
He said Khannan must also 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.”
After the case, Det Insp Sybenga praised the bravery of all three women.
He said: “Michael Khannan, in my mind, is a dangerous paedophile, who I believe presents a serious risk to women and children.
“I can not imagine the trauma these women have endured at the hands of Khannan, but they have showed immense bravery in not only coming forward initially to report what had happened to them, but also seeing the case through to the end.
“They had been determined from the start to seek justice for what Khannan had done to them, and that courage and tenacity enabled them to do that.
“This is a substantial sentence that has been passed reflecting the gravity of the crimes he had committed against them.
“I hope the women will get some closure from witnessing Khannan being sent to prison.”