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Rapist who faked disability to avoid justice jailed

|News, Sexual offences

A multiple rapist who tried to evade justice by pretending to be wheelchair-bound and mentally impaired has been sentenced today, after being caught out by a police surveillance operation.

George Stephenson (60) of Midmoor Road, Sunderland was sentenced to 28 years and 4 months after being found guilty of 14 counts of rape over 10 years against a single victim. His victim was aged only 14 at the time the offences began. His partner, Wendy Stephenson, was also sentenced after being found guilty of two charges of indecent assault against the same victim. She was sentenced to three years and 10 months.

Stephenson had previously admitted a further charge of perverting the course of justice, prior to his trial for rape, after a police surveillance operation captured him on film walking unaided and speaking with people he met.

Claire Wright of the CPS said: “George Stephenson was responsible for multiple rapes against a particularly vulnerable young girl. While the attacks began in her childhood, they continued well into her adult life and she sought professional counselling to help her cope with the trauma of these events. Through that counselling she found the strength to report what had happened to police and, as a result, George Stephenson was arrested in February of 2015.

“Rather than admit what he had done, George Stevenson conducted an elaborate scheme designed to convince the relevant authorities that he had significant mental and physical impairments. He presented himself as a man who was unable to walk unaided, talk properly or to eat normal meals. So convincing was this act that he was initially deemed unfit for trial.”

However, Stephenson’s deception was subsequently exposed during a surveillance operation conducted by Northumbria Police. He was captured on CCTV walking without impairment, eating a pasty without difficulty and chatting freely to those he met in his everyday life. When police attended his address to arrest him as a result of their surveillance, he climbed unaided on to the roof of his shed and refused to come down.

Claire added: “I would like to praise the work of Northumbria Police in securing this crucial footage. Drawing on this evidence the Crown Prosecution Service has been able to demonstrate the defendant’s deceptive and manipulative nature, which has been instrumental in helping to secure convictions for the multiple rape charges that he had continually denied. I sincerely hope that his victim can take some measure of comfort in the fact that he has been exposed as a liar and that he will now face a significant prison term as a result of his attacks upon her.”

Notes to editors

  • Claire Wright is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with the CPS North East Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RaSSO) Unit.

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