A SEXUAL predator who preyed on countless children and adults with learning difficulties has been caged for 16 years.
Now detectives who led the investigation into the crimes of Paul Johnathon Tyler have praised the bravery of his victims in speaking out about the abuse.
And they have urged further victims to do the same amid fears he could have been offending for decades.
Tyler, 53, formerly of Haslemere Avenue in Bridlington, appeared at Hull Crown Court last week for the start of what was meant to be a 10-day trial.
Tyler had previously denied the charges, which included six rapes on four children – one girl and three boys – over a five year period.
But three days into the trial Tyler changed his plea to guilty on all counts and was jailed by Judge Simon Jack.
In total Tyler was convicted of seven counts of rape of a child, three counts of rape of an adult, one count of indecent assault on an adult, two counts of sexual activity on an adult, six counts of sexual activity on a child, one count of sexual assault on a child, and two counts of possessing extreme pornography.
Det Con Nicky Grunning, of Humberside Police has described Tyler’s crimes as “despicable” and has praised the bravery of his victims in coming forward.
He said: “He systematically abused countless children and adults with learning difficulties, making them the most vulnerable of victims.
“All these victims have been dramatically affected by the abuse they have suffered at his hands and will live with the lasting effects of this for the rest of their lives.
“The charges span from 2000 to 2011 when he was arrested and the offences were committed in both Bridlington and the Leeds areas.
“It is highly likely that Tyler has been offending for decades and that there will be further victims who have not as yet come forward and I would encourage these people to be brave and contact the police.
“I would also like to praise the victims who have come forward and who provided accounts of their terrible ordeals to the police. They were exceptionally brave and I have a great deal of respect for them all.”
Some of his victims were preyed upon outside East Riding College, in St Mary’s Walk, Bridlington and it was college staff who brought Tyler’s offending to a halt when they alerted police.
David Daulby, director of learner services at the college said: “The college, in accordance with our rigorous safeguarding arrangements, acted immediately to inform the relevant agencies of concerns that were brought to our attention.
“We would like to commend the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their quick response which resulted in the swift apprehension and successful prosecution of Paul Tyler.”
Sara Hill-Summerlin, the Crown Prosecution lawyer in the case, has also spoken of the victim’s bravery in speaking up about their abuse at the hands of Tyler.
She said: “Paul Tyler preyed on those he considered vulnerable.
“He befriended them in Bridlington and then went on to sexually abuse and rape them.
“He made threats of further attacks and convinced his victims that they would not be believed if they dared speak out against him.
“But his victims did speak out. With great courage and strength they provided the police with detailed accounts of the ordeal they had suffered.
“Those who chose to speak out against their attacker have shown great strength and courage and I hope that they are now able to find some comfort knowing that Paul Tyler is behind bars for some considerable time.”