“I am happy that this man can no longer pose a danger to society” – the words of a brave survivor as her childhood attacker is given 18 years behind bars.
Thomas Reed, now 87, will likely die in jail, says the judge who sentenced him on Friday (January 17) at Newcastle Crown Court for horrifically sexually assaulting two children.
In the 1980s Reed lured a 10-year-old boy to his house, under the guise of allowing the youngster to use his binoculars.
And when the boy’s back was turned, Reed knocked him to the floor and seriously sexually assaulted the youngster.
Afterwards he offered to take the boy home, kissing him first, and warning him not to tell as “no one will believe you”.
And the horrific assault forever changed the boy’s life, a year later he tried to take his life for the first time.
In a statement read out in court before the sentencing outcome, the brave survivor spoke of the devastating impact Reed’s act of extreme depravity has had on his life.
He said: “Following the assault I was left feeling like an empty shell, terrified of being hurt by anyone else, terrified to even leave my bedroom let alone go out of the house.”
The victim’s school life suffered, and as he struggled to trust, his relationships with friends and family deteriorated too.
The victim added: “My only hope is that on hearing these words, this statement, and perhaps the words of his other victim, together with whatever sentence the Judge deems appropriate, Reed may truly understand the seriousness of his crimes and understand the harm he has caused with his actions.”
The court also heard powerful words from Reed’s other victim, who was just nine-years-old when the abuse began.
While in his 60s Reed would visit the young girl’s family.
Unbeknown to her family, with whom he had built a relationship of trust, Reed would take advantage of their time alone. He would sit the young girl on his knee and force her to retrieve sweets from his pocket; he would then trap her hand and force her to touch him. Reed would also touch her.
Her statement was also read in court for Reed to hear.
She said: “To the world and everyone I appear to be a well-adjusted individual, a person who works, has a career, travels, has hobbies and someone who enjoys their life to the full.
“In reality I am constantly forcing out of my mind how what that man did to me has shaped my life.
“The fallout it created cannot be put into words.
“There are dark days when all I can think about is sadness, the sick feeling in my stomach that never quite goes away.
“I feel cheated, wronged and shameful all at the same time. I know that I will never be the same, not from who I was before. The violation has altered me too much.”
Reed, of Callendar Court, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to six indecent assaults and six cases of gross indecency at Newcastle Crown Court on November 11, 2019.
He also pleaded guilty to a serious sexual assault on his male victim, which under today’s law would be classed as rape but he had to be sentenced for the offence as it would have been categorised at the time.
After hearing the victim’s statements, Reed, a former children’s photographer, was sentenced to 18 years behind bars.
Detective Constable Lee Boys, of Northumbria Police, was one of the officers in charge of the case, he said: “To the average person on the street, Reed would appear to be a harmless elderly pensioner, but his horrific past has now been revealed, exposing him as the dangerous, deceitful and deprived man he truly is.
“The passage of time and his advanced years did not make him any less guilty, or any less deserving of a hefty prison sentence.
“His victims have waited years for justice and I am so immensely proud that they both came forward and spoke out.”
Detective Constable Nichola Bell, who was jointly in charge of the case, added: “Because of the victims’ courage and resilience, their attacker will not spend his last years living in peaceful comfort and facing no consequences for his vile actions; instead he will be forced to spend every day for the rest of his life thinking of the pain and suffering he caused two innocent children.
“I want to thank both the victims for their incredible bravery as by coming forward they have enabled us to bring a manipulating and dangerous man before the courts and be jailed for his despicable crimes.
“I know no sentence will ever take away the pain and suffering but I hope they will take comfort in knowing their attacker is finally behind bars where he belongs.”
Anyone who has been victim of rape, sexual assault or abuse, recent or historic, is asked to contact police on 101 or report via the “Tell Us Something” page of the Northumbria Police website. Always call 999 in an emergency.
For more information about rape or sexual assault search Northumbria Police online. All our webpages have a ‘hide page’ function and there is guidance on deleting your internet history. If you have concerns about using your own devices, contact a close friend or family member to use their device or use the internet access at a local library.