A MOTHER and her rapist son have jointly admitted perverting the course of justice after conspiring to hide evidence from police.

Pamela Shoulder and son Ian Pritchard, who is serving a 12 year jail sentence for sex crimes, hatched a plan to deactivate a Facebook account belonging to Pritchard.

It was said to contain information which could have assisted police in their criminal investigation into his offending.

Pritchard, previously described by a judge as “sadistic” and a danger to women, was convicted following a trial last June of 13 counts of rape, sexual activity with a child and sexual assault. The attacks were said to be on vulnerable females whose ages ranged from 14 to 24.

He was returned to Teesside Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday, June 3) and separately admitted perverting the course of justice by encouraging a prosecution witness to write a letter containing information he knew was untrue.

Shoulder, 46, of Pounteys Close, Middleton-St-George, near Darlington, and 21-year-old Pritchard, who is being held in a detention centre for young offenders in Aylesbury, were separated by a security guard in the dock.

The court hearing was repeatedly held up as both defendants quibbled over the exact wording of the joint charge they intended to plead to and sought advice from their respective barristers.

Jonny Walker, for Shoulder, who was given conditional bail, asked that her sentence be adjourned in order that a report be prepared on her.

Kieran Rainey, for Pritchard, did not apply for a pre-sentence report, but asked Judge George Moorhouse that he be sentenced via a video link rather than have to appear in court. The judge agreed and remanded Pritchard in custody.

Both defendants will be sentenced next month.

The guilty pleas they entered came on the eve of a planned four day trial which had been due to start on Monday (June 1).

Pritchard was already subject to a sexual offences prevention order for filming himself in a sex act with a young girl when he targeted his other victims.

His trial heard how he had abused his victims physically, mentally and sexually and found “normal” sex boring.