Double Hartlepool rapist who preyed on vulnerable women is jailed for 14 years

A double rapist has been handed a 14-year jail sentence for two attacks on vulnerable women that left both victims traumatised.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 4:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 4:38 pm

Leigh Pear, 39, of Hartlepool, was found guilty of a single count of rape against two women several years apart following a trial at Teesside Crown Court in February.

On Tuesday, April 20, he was given seven years prison for attacking each victim.

Welcoming the sentence, Cleveland Police have praised the bravery of both women and say a dangerous offender has been taken off the streets.

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Leigh Pear, of Hartlepool, was found guilty of two counts of rape following a trial.
Leigh Pear, of Hartlepool, was found guilty of two counts of rape following a trial.

Prosecutor Jo Kidd said Pear, of Milbank Road, preyed on the women’s vulnerability and both had suffered “severe psychological harm” as a result.

The court heard he had a sense of entitlement when it came to sex.

Ms Kidd previously told the trial: “He clearly considered their view, their wish, their desires were of no importance, and that if he wanted to have sex he was going to have it.”

She described how he had sex with the first victim despite her asking him to stop and he attacked the second woman when she was in no position to give her consent.

In sentencing Pear, Judge Stephen Ashurst told him: “Rape is always regarded by the court as a serious crime.

"It is an ugly crime. It is a crime that has repercussions, very often lifetime repercussions for victims.

"I regard your behaviour towards these two women as being extremely serious.”

He added Pear had not shown “one shred of sympathy or remorse” towards the victims but instead classed himself as the victim.

Judge Ashurst added: “It may be in the fullness of time as you are serving your sentence you will come to realise the damage you have caused.”

Five further rape allegations that Pear stood trial for were dismissed after the jury was unable to agree verdicts.

He said sex was consensual for each of the allegations.

Defence barrister Ian Mullarkey, mitigating, said Pear still claims he is innocent and reminded the judge he only fell to be sentenced for two specific offences rather than a pattern of offending.

He said: “There are no previous convictions recorded against him and he is facing what will be his first and unquestionably lengthy prison sentence.”

Judge Ashurst said there had to be separate prison sentences to be served one after the other because there were two victims and the offences were carried out several years apart.

Detective Constable Shaun Watson, the detective in charge of the case at Cleveland Police, said afterwards: “This was a very complex investigation involving two victims and I welcome the sentence given to Pear today.

“A dangerous man has been removed from our streets and while it can never undo what happened, I sincerely hope today’s outcome brings a degree of comfort to the women affected.

"They showed great bravery throughout the investigation and the legal process, and I wish them both well for the future.”

Pear will also be placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.

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