Man branded “predatory monster” after being convicted of 28 sex attacks, including rape, of a girl under 13

A man has been convicted of committing 28 counts of sexual offenses, including rape, to a girl who was less than 13 years ago.

Giorgos Lagji repeatedly abused the youngster in offences which began when she was a young child. A court heard the pervert groomed, bribed, threatened and subjected her to emotional blackmail during the abuse.

Now Lagji, 36, has been locked up for two decades at Newcastle Crown Court for 28 child sex offences, including raping a girl under-13. Referring to her victim impact statement as she passed sentence, Judge Penny Moreland told him: “You took her childhood from her.

“The offences you committed against her changed her and changed her relationships with others, changed her approach to life. She said ‘inside I’m broken’. You did that to her.

“The jury convicted you of raping her at least six times. That amounts to a campaign of rape. There were repeated sexual assaults and taking and inciting the taking of indecent images.”

When the victim finally plucked up the courage to report what had happened to her in Newcastle, Lagji, of no fixed address, fled to Greece for four months to avoid arrest before returning.

He was convicted by a jury of a series of offences, including rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, sexual activity with a child and admitted other offences. As well as the 20 year prison sentence, of which he must serve at least two-thirds behind bars, Lagji has to sign the sex offenders register for life and will be barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.

The victim said: “He made me feel helpless. I was only a child when the abuse began. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I knew that the behaviour wasn’t normal, but this was all I knew.

“My childhood and innocence have been ripped from my hands and heart. I feel like I can never behave normally again. I have become good at masking how I am feeling as I have had to hide my emotions for so long and put on a front for other people.

“I put a smile on my face and tell people I’m fine, but inside I am broken. My childhood ended when my innocence was taken away from me and, for years, that’s all I have known.”

Richard Herrmann, defending, said Lagji was determined to undertake any courses offered to him to help “mend his ways”.

Detective Constable Lisa Herron, of Northumbria Police, led the investigation and supported the survivor throughout the investigation and subsequent trial. She said: “This is one of the worst cases of abuse I’ve seen in my time with Northumbria Police.

“The victim in this case has shown such bravery in coming forward and speaking up against the person who abused her. I’d like to praise her courage and composure throughout this whole investigation and the criminal justice process; her commitment to justice has been unwavering.

“Now the whole world knows what Lagji is – a predatory monster. This sentence goes no way in erasing what the survivor has been through, but it means that Lagji is now in prison and will be closely monitored for the rest of his life, which is what he deserves.

“I’m sure our communities will rest easier knowing he is behind bars – all thanks to this girl’s heroism.”

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