A SERIAL sex attacker who once apologised for his behaviour in a letter to Prince Charles has been jailed for 18 years.
Michael Khannan is already serving nine years behind bars for a sex attack on a woman in Peterlee, County Durham, in 1978.
Since starting the sentence, after a trial in 2010, the 61-year-old has been convicted of further attacks after more victims came forward.
At Newcastle Crown Court in January, Khannan, aka Preston, was found guilty of a series of indecent assaults on two South Shields schoolgirls in the 1990s.
He had also pleaded guilty to an unsolved sex attack in 1977, when he attempted to rape a woman as she walked in Tanfield Lea, County Durham.
The terrified victim was dragged to an isolated area, where Khannan threatened to kill her and warned: “Do as I say because I’ve got a knife here, and if I have to I will use it.”
The case had remained unsolved for more than 30 years until police got a DNA match which linked evidence from the scene to the serial attacker.
Judge Paul Sloan QC said all three victims Khannan was sentenced in relation to today still suffer as a result of their ordeals.
He must 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.”
Mark Cotter, defending, said Khannan has never revealed what lies behind his behaviour.
He said: “Although the offences are monstrous, he is not in fact a monster, he’s a human being and capable of normal human emotion.”
Khannan once wrote a letter of apology to Prince Charles after his past was revealed by a national newspaper.
The former club singer, then aged 34, and the Prince met in 1986, when he visited Tedco Enterprise Centre, in Eldon Street, South Shields.
Khannan had been released from prison, where he served just over half of a six-year sentence for rape and two indecent assaults on teenagers in 1973.
He changed his surname to Preston and had set up a shed-making business.
But when his unsavoury past was exposed, Khannan wrote to Prince Charles, apologising for any “embarrassment” the story may have caused him.
Khannan claimed the newspaper report left his life in tatters, and told Prince Charles he was a reformed man.
And in his grovelling letter to the Prince, he protested he had been “properly punished” and had served “my due sentence”.
Khannan’s previous convictions include an indecent assault after he forced a 14-year-old girl onto a railway embankment in South Shields and molested her in September 1972.
On December 18 that same year he grabbed a 16-year-old girl, dragged her into another back lane in South Shields and indecently assaulted her.
Three days after that attack he raped a woman in a back lane and ended up with a six-year prison sentence.
Khannan confessed to all three attacks.
In 1999 he molested a nine-year-old girl in South Shields, which led to him being convicted of gross indecency with a child and indecent assault after a trial in June 2000 where he was jailed for three years.
* Don’t miss tomorrow’s Shields Gazette for more on this breaking news story.