Specialist detectives have praised a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (which continued into adulthood) for their courage, and welcomed the lengthy sentences given to the two men who committed the offences.
Brothers Maurice (74) and John (64) Edwards began their offending when they were young men.
The survivor bravely came forward as an adult and was offered specialist support while extensive enquiries got underway.
Despite not admitting to all the charges put to them by officers from Cleveland Police CAVA (Child Abuse and Vulnerable Adult Unit), the men were charged in 2020 with a number of sexual offences and the case went to Teesside Crown Court where a two-week trial took place.
Maurice Edwards of Tithe Barn Road in Stockton was jailed for 27 ½ years after being found guilty of two counts of rape and indecent assault.
And John Edwards of May Street in Hartlepool received an 18-year sentence with an additional year extended licence after being found guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of indecency with a child.
Both will also be subject to a lifelong restraining order preventing them from contacting their victim, and they will be placed on the sex offenders’ register on release from prison.
CAVA Detective Constable Mel Phelps said: “This was a horrific case involving two brothers carrying out extensive abuse – one against a child and the other as the survivor reached adulthood.
“Their actions have had a massively detrimental effect on the survivor, sadly causing lasting effects.
“I can’t praise the survivor enough for their bravery though – throughout the investigation and during the trial itself. The trauma of having to go over these devastating events must have been unbearable but we all shared a determination to achieve justice and to see both Edwards brothers dealt with.
“I hope the lengthy sentences handed to these men demonstrate police and the judicial system’s view of such horrendous offending, and that the survivor can continue to move forwards with their life.
“Finally I’d like to thank my former CAVA colleague Julie Sheehan for all her hard work and for ensuring there was a comprehensive handover of this investigation on her retirement.”
CAVA Acting Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Waterfield added: ““I also wish the survivor the very best for the future; their courage and unwavering determination to seek justice after their unimaginable and harrowing experience is absolutely awe-inspiring.
“I would also take this opportunity to remind anyone who has experienced any kind of abuse, however long ago, that they can report in complete confidence to Cleveland Police.
“We’re committed to doing all we can to achieve justice for survivors and we work very closely with specialist partner agencies to ensure anyone affected is supported, while we gather the best possible evidence to bring charges.
“We will listen to you, we will believe you and we will support you.”
You can report online via the Cleveland Police website or by phoning 101 at any time of day or night.
Photo shows John Edwards. We do not have a photo of Maurice Edwards.