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Convicted rapist Tony Plews jailed for cancer patient sex attack

Tony Plews Image copyright Durham Police
Image caption Plews had already served 12 years in prison for rape and robbery

A convicted rapist has been jailed for sexually assaulting an "extremely frail" cancer patient.

Tony Plews attacked the 68-year-old in her County Durham home in January as she recovered from stomach cancer, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

Jailing Plews for five years and 11 months, Judge Robert Adams told him he was "clearly dangerous".

The court heard the 36-year-old had served a 12-year prison term for raping an 87-year-old woman in 2004.

Plews, from Bishop Auckland, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one of perverting the course of justice.

At the time of the attack his victim weighed just five stone (70lbs) and also had osteoporosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the court heard.

'Forensically aware'

After initially going to the woman's flat asking for a glass of milk, Plews sexually assaulted her twice in her bedroom.

He remained in her home for almost eight hours, threatening that there would be "headlines" about her and she would have to appear in court and relive her ordeal if she went to police.

The court was shown a video of a police interview with the woman, who struggled for breath as she recounted the attack.

"He wouldn't go, he wouldn't go", she said, and described how Plews had threatened "it will be bad for you" if she reported the assault.

Plews only left when she told him her daughter was arriving soon, the court was told.

The court heard Plews had become "very forensically aware" during his time in prison and had attempted to convince police he was having a relationship with the woman by removing personal items and putting them in his own home.

In a personal impact statement read to the court, one of the woman's daughters said she felt "physically sick" when she discovered Plews had previously attacked another woman.

Judge Adams said Plews targeted his victim because of her frail health, adding: "It is my judgement you are clearly dangerous and an extended sentence is necessary to protect the public."

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