Tyne & Wear

Four men convicted of 'heinous' sex offences

Clockwise from top left; Colin Ankers, Darren Smith, Philip Taylor, Paul Cavner Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption (Clockwise from top left) Colin Ankers, Darren Smith, Philip Taylor, and Paul Cavner were told they face substantial prison sentences

A woman who spoke out against a "heinous" group of men who sexually abused her as a child has been branded a "pillar of strength" by police.

The four had denied rape and sexual assault but were convicted following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

One of the men offered the victim to the others for sexual purposes over a period of six years in return for money, cigarettes and alcohol.

They were remanded in custody and will be sentenced on 18 July.

The four men are:

  • Colin Ankers, 45, of Waterville Road, North Shields, convicted of 14 counts of rape and four of indecent assault
  • Darren Smith, 36, of Irene Avenue, Stoke-on-Trent, convicted of five counts of rape and five counts of indecent assault
  • Philip Taylor, 60, of Whiteley Avenue, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, convicted of three counts of rape and four of indecent assault
  • Paul Cavner, 55, of Crofton Street, Blyth, Northumberland, one count of rape and one of indecent assault

Judge Tim Gittens described their crimes as "heinous and wicked" and warned them they faced substantial prison terms.

Det Con Jaclyn Younger, of Northumbria Police, said: "This victim has been an absolute pillar of strength by standing up to the men who abused her as a child.

"This woman has suffered much of her childhood by being brutally raped and assaulted and this has undoubtedly had a huge impact on her.

"She can hold her head high and know by speaking out she has made a difference and can now hopefully move on with her life."