Joseph Stewart has been convicted following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court
A paedophile who sexually abused children has been jailed for 21 years after his victims bravely came forward to inform police of their ordeal.
Joseph Stewart abused one of the youngsters in the early 2000s, with the other victim abused after 2010.
The victims, who were young children at the time, realised what had happened to them as they grew into adults and informed Northumbria Police.
Officers immediately began an investigation into Stewart and arrested him.
In interview, the 56-year-old denied carrying out the attacks but was charged with five counts of indecent assault, one count of indecency with a child, one count of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of sexual activity with a child.
He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges but was found guilty following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court in July and remanded in custody.
At the same court yesterday, Stewart, previously of Newcastle but most recently of Albion Gardens, Burnopfield, County Durham, was jailed for a total of 21 years.
Stewart was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order, sex offender registration and a restraining order.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable Helen O’Halleron, of Northumbria Police's Safeguarding department, said: "These were absolutely horrendous ordeals for Stewart’s victims, something no child should ever have to experience and I really hope that his sentencing can serve as some form of closure for them.
“Without their strength and bravery, he would not be behind bars today and his offending may never even have come to light. This is something they should be incredibly proud of and we thank them for their continued co-operation throughout our thorough investigation.”
Det Con O’Halleron added: “Stewart is a dangerous individual and deserves to be behind bars for a significant length of time.
“As a Force, protecting and supporting vulnerable victims is our top priority and we will continue to work incredibly hard to put offenders before the courts and ensure that no-one gets away with this type of criminality.
“If you have been a victim, we’d encourage you to take that first step and come forward – you will be listened to, and you will be believed.”
To access support or find out more information on how to disclose sexual assault or rape, visit Northumbria Police’s website: Rape and sexual assault : Northumbria Police
To report any other type of historic abuse, contact police on 101 or report online via the Force’s website.