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Four year prison sentence for child abuser
A PAEDOPHILE who dodged justice six years ago when his victim was too afraid to go to court was finally behind bars tonight (Friday, October 19).
Stephen Harker was arrested for abusing the girl in 2006 but the case was dropped because she did not want to pursue the claims.
Last year, when fresh allegations were made by another youngster, the original file was re-opened and five charges were brought.
Harker, 47, a convicted rapist, was found guilty after a trial at Teesside Crown Court, and was today locked up for four years.
The father-of-three still denies the offences and his barrister told the court he had led a blameless life since his conviction in 1999.
Harker was jailed for six years after being found guilty of assaulting and raping a woman after forcing his way into her home.
He denied abusing the girl on three occasions six years ago, and twice sexually assaulting the other youngster last year.
Judge Tony Briggs told the painter and decorator, of Sawtry Road, Middlesbrough, he had been found guilty on “plain” evidence.
The court heard that he threatened both of his victims in a similar way – ordering them not to tell anyone of their ordeals.
Harker was ordered to sign on the sex offenders' register indefinitely, and was banned for life from working with children.
He was also made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which bans him from having unsupervised contact with under-18s.
In a statement, eldest of his victims said she felt scared and powerless to stop Harker, and felt she had no option but to keep her ordeal a secret.