A brave schoolgirl has been praised by police after she reported being lured to hotel rooms by a predatory paedophile – as he was this week jailed for more than 13 years.
Mitica Gheorghiu, 40, of Newcastle, threatened the girl, saying he would kill her and her family if she told anyone about the abuse.
A court was told how he would force her to skip school before abusing her in a hotel room. He even filmed the abuse on one occasion.
The schoolgirl kept quiet about what had happened to her out of fear of repercussions but last September she bravely confided in her mum and Gheorghiu was arrested.
Hotel staff confirmed his frequent and unusual hotel stays during a two week period in September last year, where he would check in mid-morning and check out hours later in the afternoon. He was also captured on CCTV at the premises with his victim.
Despite the evidence, Gheorghiu initially denied the offences but then changed his plea on the day of his trial on March 3.
He admitted four counts of rape of a child under 13, eight counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of making indecent images and videoing a child.
Gheorghiu was handed a 13-and-a-half year prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday 12 March.
Detective Constable Claire Ashurst, of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department, was the officer in charge of the case and she has today paid tribute to the victim.
She said: “I want to commend the victim’s mother for contacting the police so swiftly after learning about the harrowing abuse her daughter was suffering.
“That swift action, followed by the young victim’s bravery throughout the course of the investigation and court proceedings means the world now knows exactly who Mitica Gheorghiu really is, he is nothing more than a brazen paedophile, so secure in his own threats he thought he’d scared his victim in to never speaking up.
“I know no sentence will ever take away the pain but I hope his victim and her family can take comfort knowing they have helped put a predatory man in prison where he can no longer manipulate, threaten and hurt the innocent.
“I encourage anyone out there who may have experienced or is experiencing any form of sexual abuse to report it. Every report will be taken seriously, treated with the utmost compassion and you will be fully supported.”
Anyone who has been a victim of rape, sexual assault or abuse, recent or historic, is asked to contact police on 101 or report via the “Tell Us Something” page of the Northumbria Police website. Always call 999 in an emergency.
To contact the 24/7 Crisis Helpline contact 03333448283 or find out more about our Sexual Assault Referral Centre by searching REACH SARC online.
Victims can also contact Victims First Northumbria on 0800 011 3116 who will give independent advice and support.
For more information about rape or sexual assault search Northumbria Police online.
All the web pages have a ‘hide page’ function and there is guidance on deleting your internet history. If you have concerns about using your own devices, contact a close friend or family member to use their device or use the internet access at a local library.