A former police officer has been brought to justice for raping and assaulting women over a period of 30 years.
Kevin Barry Bentley, from Spennymoor, was convicted at Durham Crown Court for a catalogue of historic abuse against five women and one girl, with some dating back to the 1970s, Chronicle Live reported.
The 68-year-old was was found guilty of 24 serious sexual and physical assaults, including two counts of rape, six of assault and eight of indecent assault after the two-week trial.
The former police constable retired in 2006 and none of his offences related to his job as a police officer.
Last week Judge James Adkin sentenced Bentley to 28 years in prison with an additional extended licence period of six years and ordered that the defendant must serve at least 18-and-a-half years in custody before he can be considered for parole.
His conviction follows a three-year long investigation by Durham Constabulary which started in 2018 when one victim revealed she had been sexually abused.
Officers from Bishop Auckland Safeguarding Team traced a total of six victims, who all gave evidence that over a 30-year period Bentley had physically or sexually assaulted them.
Detective Constable Hannan, who was the officer in charge of the investigation, said: “Kevin Bentley repeatedly subjected his victims to horrific abuse and now faces many years in prison to reflect on the trail of damaged lives he has left behind him.
“This has been a long and difficult investigation and above all, our thoughts today are with those women who were strong enough to give evidence to bring their abuser to justice after all this time and hopefully begin the process of moving forward with their lives.
“I would also like to thank the witnesses who made themselves available to give evidence and the dedicated officers who worked tirelessly and with great sensitivity over three years to ensure that Bentley was brought to trial and ultimately received the lengthy prison sentence he deserves.
“I hope this conviction will reassure all survivors of abuse that, no matter who the perpetrator is and no matter what the circumstances may be, they can be confident that if they come forward we will listen and we will investigate”.
Detective Chief Inspector Cuthbert, head of the force’s Professional Standards Department, said: “Kevin Bentley subjected these women to a sustained campaign of abuse which spanned thirty years.
“While these offences were not related to Bentley’s role as a police officer, they do not reflect the high standards of Durham Constabulary – the standards exemplified by the diligent and dedicated officers who worked to bring him to justice”.
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