‘Domineering’ Houghton rapist sentenced to life for vile attacks on young women

Peter Anderson made v-signs to the public in his trial as he was convicted of his heinous crimes

A ‘domineering’ North East rapist has been sentenced to life after repeated attacks on younger women, including a schoolgirl, which left one victim attempting to take her life.

Two phenomenally brave victims came forward to share their experiences and help put Peter Anderson behind bars.

The 30-year-old's offending first came to light after a teenage victim reached out to her school guidance counsellor to report the abuse she had suffered.

Meanwhile, a second female, in her 20s, also found the courage to report she had been raped by Anderson when a concerned GP put her in touch with charity Wearside Women in Need to seek support.

In early 2021, Anderson, of Easington Lane, Houghton, was charged with 12 offences, including six counts of rape against two victims.

Anderson was found guilty of two counts of rape, sexual activity with a child, blackmail, false imprisonment and controlling or coercive behaviour with the first victim - who he first kissed when she was just 15 years old.

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The rapist was also convicted of four counts of rape, a sexual assault, causing a person to engage in sexual activity and controlling coercive behaviour for the second victim.

The court heard that the rapist used threats of violence and a willingness to share indecent images in a bit to silence his victims.

Peter Anderson

A statement written by one victim was read out in court, they said: "The effects on both my mental and physical health will be forever lasting.

"Although I'm in a better place I still hear Peter's voice in my head and can still see his piercing eyes staring at me.

"During the past 12 months I would constantly wake up screaming. I had reoccurring nightmares."

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He denied his guilt and made the decision to represent himself in court, delaying the trial, which began in October last year and lasted six weeks.

A jury of his peers saw through his lies and he was convicted of all 12 offences, including two counts of sexual assault and one count each of blackmail and false imprisonment, in December last year.

He was remanded in prison but was back before a judge at Crown Court on Monday, August 15, via videolink from Durham Prison, where he was sentenced to life imprisonment - he must serve at least 14 years behind bars before being considered for parole.

Judge Julie Clemitson said: "At trial you represented yourself. You clearly demonstrated repeatedly to be narcissistic, paranoid, domineering and manipulative.

"You adopted one persona in front of the jury and quite another when they were not in the room. You tried to shout me down and lost your temper one time when I tried to speak to the prosecutor.

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"You demonstrated a complete lack of empathy towards the victims, showing a callous disregard to both of them. You demonstrated how domineering you could be during your evidence. You walked back to the dock making v-signs to the public gallery."

DCI Shelley Hudson

Detective Chief Inspector Shelley Hudson, of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding department, said: “Peter Anderson is a narcissistic bully who took pleasure in terrifying and even blackmailing his victims into silence.

“He believed they would never speak out but he underestimated their bravery and also underestimated the goodness of other people who were ready and waiting to support his victims and help them to see themselves as survivors.

“I am in awe of the survivors’ courage and composure and in awe of those who showed such care and compassion towards these women when they desperately needed a boost in their faith in humanity.”