South Shields paedophile Raymond Craig jailed for further five years

Raymond Craig.
Raymond Craig.

A brave mum publicly faced the man who abused her as a child and explained the devastating impact his crimes have had on her life.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was subjected to sickening sex assaults at the hands of former South Tyneside pub landlord Raymond Craig.

Craig, from South Shields, who ran the Mermaid's Tail bar in the early 1990s, is already serving a prison sentence of more than five years for another, recent, sex attack on a child.

At Newcastle Crown Court the 60-year-old has now been given a further five years behind bars, which will start when he has finished his current sentence.

Craig admitted six charges of indecent assault against the woman, which took place more than 20 years ago - but he had initially told detectives it was the victim who "had a crush" on him and branded her a "flirt".

Speaking from the witness box, just feet away from the paedophile who has haunted her life, the woman stared straight at him and asked: "How can you say it was me?"

Reading her statement in court, she said: "When I was a child I thought what Raymond Craig did to me happened to everyone.

"I have been brought up to respect adults and that they were always right.

"Raymond was the life and soul of the party. As a child, I assumed everyone was like him.

"I was frightened to tell anyone in case they didn't believe me. I didn't want anyone to know.

"He said it was a secret and that no-one needed to know. I got the impression something bad would happen if I told."

The woman also told the court that because of the abuse she acted more mature than her years as a teenager and started to sexually experiment early.

She said: "I wanted to do things quicker than I should have done because of the impact of what he did to me.

"I didn't want the last person who touched me to be him. I felt guilty about what happened.

"It took me a long time to understand what love meant because he told me he loved me."

The woman also told the court how the impact of what happened to her has effected her health.

She added: "I am frightened to go to sleep because I keep re-living it in my nightmares.

"All I can see is his face when I close my eyes."

Looking into Craig's eyes, she added: "I would like him to be sent to prison for a very long time and never be allowed next to kids."

Craig must sign the sex offenders' register for life and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order.

Judge Tim Gittins told him: "What you did to her was abhorrent.

"She has lived with your sordid behaviour towards her for the last 25 years.

"That it has deeply effected her is without doubt, as anyone hearing what she has had to say today would accept.

"You took that young girls innocence away but, I am pleased to say, you didn't take her strength away and she was able to come forward in the way she has, particularly in expressing her feelings today, which I acknowledge.

"Clearly, at the age of 60, you remain a danger to such young girls by repetition of similar behaviour."

Gavin Doig, mitigating, said Craig's once decent reputation is in tatters because of his own behaviour.

He added that Craig's guilty pleas saved the victim from having to relive, and be questioned in detail, about her ordeal in front of a jury.