Jail for drug-crazed man for knifepoint sex attacks on two women

Ashton was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

Ashton was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

An attacker sexually assaulted two terrified victims while robbing three people at a house at knifepoint.

Paul Ashton forced a man and two women to sit side by side on a sofa where he beat them all and threatened them with knives he picked up from the kitchen.

Newcastle Crown Court heard during the shocking violence, the 24-year-old subjected the two females to "humiliating and degrading" sex attacks, in front of each other and others who were there, which have caused them psychological trauma.

A judge said Ashton was "casually cruel" during the attack, and branded him a dangerous offender.

The court heard instead of confessing what he had done, Ashton denied three charges of robbery, three of common assault and two of assault by penetration during a trial where he branded his victims "liars".

He was convicted by a jury last month and has now been jailed for nine years, and will be required to sign the sex offenders' register for life.

The court heard Ashton, of Thursby Gardens, Low Fell, had initially been welcomed at the house in Gateshead with his victims and two other people, on a summer Friday night in June.

After taking drugs during the evening, Ashton became "paranoid and aggressive" and accused his victims of stealing from him.

The explosion of violence that followed left his three victims battered and terrified.

Judge Tim Gittins told him: "You armed yourself with several knives from the kitchen. You forced the three of them to sit side by side on the sofa and proceeded to assault each of them in turn.

"You were repeatedly punching them to the head and face. Thereafter, you threatened to stab them."

The court heard Ashton forced the women to remove their lower clothing before carrying out the "prolonged" sex attacks.

Judge Gittins added: "The women were hysterical and pleading with you to desist.

"A jury was satisfied there was sexual humiliation and degradation.

"This wasn't just carried out in front of each other, but in front of the two other people who were also present.

"Having completed the sexual assaults, you continued the physical assaults, clearly revelling at having the three of them under your power and control while you were under the influence of drugs. "

It was while Ashton was packing up property to steal from the house that his victims managed to call the emergency services for help.

The court heard the physical injuries to the victims included mostly cuts, bruising and soreness, which the judge said would have healed quickly.

But the judge added: "They will have to live with what you did for many, many years."

Ashton, who has enrolled on courses while on remand, sent a letter to the judge detailing his intention to turn away from crime in future.

Annelise Haugstad, defending, said Ashton was "out of control" at the time, but is now accepting assistance from his support network.