Two paedophiles who twice raped a young boy were arrested years later, after one of them admitted to the sexual activity in a Facebook message.

The victim went through years of torment before summoning the courage to get in touch and find evidence to convict John Cox and Jamie Cross at Leicester Crown Court.

Both men were found guilty by a jury of two counts each of raping the 13-year-old in 2005.

The court heard both defendants had previous convictions relating to child sexual abuse images and were given suspended sentences in 2017.

In a moving personal impact statement, at the sentencing hearing, the complainant hoped that if anything similar happened to anyone else they would come forward.

He described the abuse as affecting his education and sending him off the rails for several years.

The victim said he suffered recurring nightmares with the defendants’ “faces coming out of the walls and shouting at me.”

He stated: “I felt angry at what they’d done to me and my body.”

When messaging them on Facebook, years later, he said he felt “fear and disgust.”

Although both defendants denied the rapes, Cross had referred to sexual activity having taken place when the victim later engaged him in text conversations – which was evidence used in court.

Sentencing the pair to substantial terms in jail, Judge Robert Brown said: “You were both in your mid-20’s at the time and the complainant was 13.

“The circumstances in which you abused him were a gross breach of trust by you.”

Judge Brown told Cox, 38, and Cross, 37, both of Simons Close, Wigston Harcourt, near Leicester: “You took advantage of him and you raped him twice.”

Cox raped the boy during two incidents – including when Cross also took turns and twice raped the victim.

Judge Brown said: “I can’t and don’t attempt to begin to describe the pain and suffering he’s gone through … the pain is real, it’s lasting and will never leave him.”

The judge said the victim was accused of lying during the trial and added: “For him it was like going through it all again.

“You’re both still in denial and still maintain you didn’t abuse him.

“The jury by their verdicts have found you guilty – and guilty you are in the way described.

“It was a clear abuse of trust, you planned these encounters and took advantage of this young boy.”

Judge Brown told the defendants: “There’s no remorse, there’s no previous good character, there’s no mitigation apart from what I’ve already referred to in your character references.”

He said both defendants would receive “sex offenders’ treatment” whilst in custody.

During the trial, Richard Thatcher, prosecuting, said the boy had got to know them when they were running a first aid service, providing medical care at public events.

Mr Thatcher said that when the victim became an adult: “He entrapped Cross in a conversation on Facebook.

“He wanted to get them to admit what they’d done.”

Giving evidence in the trial caused the victim’s fear and pain to resurface that he described afterwards “felt like a tornado.”

The complainant said the court process had proved successful and added: “I hope if anything similar happened to anyone else, I suggest they come forward.”

Cox and Cross were each jailed for 12 years.

They were placed on life-time sexual harm prevention orders and will have to record all future addresses on the police sexual offenders’ register.

Both were “automatically barred” from ever working with children, the judge said.

The defendants were also on trial accused of less serious sexual assaults upon the same victim, during the same period, but both Cox and Cross were acquitted by the jury on those counts.

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