Posted on Friday 26 May 2023
A rapist who subjected his victim to years of abuse has been sentenced to more than two decades in prison.
Keith Lonsdale controlled his victim from as young as 12 years old and carried out horrendous sexual acts including raping her at least 27 times and making her eat her own vomit.
The 67-year-old portrayed himself as a stalwart of the community as an athletics coach and had a hold over the girl, making her believe the abuse was her fault.
At one point the victim said she wanted to take her own life.
It was only when the girl confided in a family member that the abuse came to light and police were contacted.
An investigation was launched and Lonsdale was arrested and charged with 12 offences including eight counts of rape, two sexual assaults and one of sexual activity with a child.
Despite the evidence against him, he pleaded not guilty and insisted on putting his victim through more torment with a nine-day trial last month.
But the jury found him guilty of ten of the charges yesterday (May 25), and he was sentenced to 21 years behind bars for the crimes.
Calling him “monstrous”, Judge Jo Kidd, said Lonsdale will serve at least 14 years of his sentence before being considered for release.
Safeguarding Detective Bethany Otty and Investigative Officer Heidi Weir, who led the investigation, said: “Lonsdale carried out some of the vilest crimes we have ever seen and took away some of the most important years of his victim’s life by subjecting her to this horrendous abuse.
“The victim has shown incredible strength throughout the investigation and particularly providing evidence in court and we hope the sentence gives her some comfort so she can start to rebuild her life.”
If you have suffered sexual abuse, please come forward and report it to us – either on 101, or in an emergency by calling 999.
If you don’t want to talk to the police, you can still access help through The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre.
To contact The Meadows, call 0330 223 0099, or visit their website www.sarcdurham.co.uk