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Rape victim’s courage, praised by PCC Vera Baird

19th August 2016

Yesterday 35-year-old Kevin Thorburn, who is formerly of Finsbury Street in Sunderland, was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.

He previously pleaded guilty to rape of a female over a three and a half year period.

Thorburn abused his young victim from the age of 13 supplying her with drugs and taking advantage of her. He was also a prolific burglar and used her as an accomplice – making her ‘watchout’ while he comitted burglaries.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird QC, said: “It has taken great courage for this brave young woman to speak out and, in doing so, our officers have been able to ensure an evil man is put behind bars.

“I urge anyone who has been raped to come forward and to know that Northumbria Police has specialist officers on hand to listen, support and vigorously pursue those responsible for such awful crimes and help bring an attacker to justice.

“It’s so important that victims know they will be supported every step of the way and even those who haven’t reported a crime to the police must remember, practical and emotional support is also available through Victims First Northumbria – you’re never on your own.”

Detective Constable Angela Hewitt was the officer in charge of the investigation into Thorburn.

She said: “Thorburn is a horrible man who preyed on the vulnerability of a young girl and took advantage of her consistently over a three and a half year period. He supplied her with drugs and every time they were alone together he would abuse her.

“To suffer such horrific abuse from a young age has undoubtedly had an effect on the victim and she has had a lot to deal with and overcome. Despite all this she has managed to move on and has completely turned her life around and I’m incredibly proud of the transformation she has made to her life from when I first her met her to now. It really is incredible and I’m so pleased she has been able to move on and not let the abuse from Thorburn ruin her life anymore.

“I would like to thank her for having the confidence to come forward and speak to us and allowing us to make sure Thorburn paid for his actions and hope it gives other victims the courage to come forward.

“We will listen to them and we will take what they’re saying seriously whatever their story is. Our job is not to judge but to make sure those who are the most dangerous in our society and prey on vulnerable people are put in jail and that victims get the support they need.”

Detective Inspector Denise Clark  of the force’s safeguarding department said: “This is absolutely key for us to show that victims will be believed and must come forward to police. We are here to support victims of sexual offences and domestic abuse and provide them with the support they need.

“We work with support agencies and partners to provide a wrap around service and this is something we are so very proud to deliver to victims. They are at the forefront of everything we do and I want to reassure any victim that they will be heard.”

Thorburn will also be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 20 years.