A trampoline coach has been jailed for 10 years for raping a young boy - after a heroic farmer caught him abusing the youngster in a remote layby.
A court heard sports science graduate Louis Murray, who hoped for a career in education, groomed the child from the age of 12 and started sexually abusing him.
The victim was saved from further painful attacks when vigilant farmer George Common spotted Murray’s Mini had steamed up while parked in a layby near Belsay, Northumberland, and went to investigate.
He was shocked to find the youngster in the passenger seat and he had caught Murray red-handed.
A court heard Mr Common tried to rescue the boy by pulling him out of the car but Murray sped off in a panic, crashing into the farmer’s Land Rover as he went.
However the farmer’s intervention brought Murray to justice as he was traced through his car and arrested, reported The Chronicle.
As Murray was jailed for two rapes and other sex offences, a judge commended Mr Common and awarded him £400 out of the public purse for his heroism.
Judge Edward Bindloss said: “He showed resourcefulness, bravery and a public-spirited attitude.
“He sought to intervene and tried to rescue [the boy] and bring the defendant to justice. In fact he succeeded in both, perhaps not at the scene but later in the day he had brought this to an end.
“Actions such as Mr Common’s should be recognised by the court and I order a payment be made of £400 out of public funds as a small token of the court’s gratitude to him.”
Anne Richardson, prosecuting, had told the court: “He went to that car, was shocked at what he saw and tenaciously sought to rescue that child.
“The Crown submit such people are rare and should be commended because of his heroic attempts to assist.”
The court heard Mr Common noticed the car with steamed up windows in a layby between Belsay and Capheaton, Northumberland, one afternoon last autumn.
Miss Richardson said he initially thought it was a male and female couple but then when it was still there a while later, he became concerned someone was committing suicide.
However when he went to have a closer look he was shocked to see a naked young boy in the passenger seat and fully-clothed Murray in the driving seat.
Miss Richardson said: “Sensing this was not right, the farmer opened the door and grabbed the boy by the arm and said ‘This is not right, get out of the car’. The boy did not.
“The driver began to rev the car, spinning the wheels as the farmer still had hold of the boy.”
Murray then repeatedly hit Mr Common’s car as he manoeuvred away and sped off with the victim still in the passenger seat.
The farmer informed the police what had happened and Murray was traced through his car and arrested.
Police were anxious to establish who the youngster was but Murray denied having a child in the car when he was first interviewed and claimed the windows were steamed up from him vaping.
Police examined his phone and found a picture of the boy, which the farmer confirmed was the same lad he had seen.
When police went to the home of the victim, his parents were shocked at what they were being told.
The boy was interviewed and told them he had been sexually abused by Murray on the day the farmer caught him and on a previous occasion and that he had told him not to tell anyone.
The victim said in a statement about the impact on him: “I didn’t know how to tell him to stop hurting me.
“I didn’t want him to touch me but I didn’t want him to get angry so I felt I had to let him.”
The boy, who said Murray also demanded nude pictures, said he is going to have to have counselling.
Murray, 22, of Wilbury Place, Blakelaw, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, two of sexual activity with a child, four of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and dangerous driving.
He was jailed for 10 years, must sign the sex offenders’ register for life and was made subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.
Judge Bindloss said reports show he poses a high risk of further sexual offences and said he should be classed as dangerous.
Andrew Walker, mitigating, said: “There’s a degree of remorse here and there’s full acknowledgement of responsibility.
“He is young, he has no previous convictions.
“His career aspirations are completely ended, it’s part of the price he must pay for the offending.”
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