“Don’t feel like people won’t believe you, don’t feel like nobody will understand, there is always someone who will listen and help.”

That is the message from two courageous victims who saw their abuser jailed for 13 years yesterday.

Carl Smailes, 37, subjected his victims to horrendous sexual assaults, often plying them with alcohol first.

Smailes, of Keats Road, Chilton, was charged with rape and two counts of sexual assault on a female under 16.

He was found guilty after a trial on October 8 and sentenced to 13 years in prison at Durham Crown Court yesterday.

Smailes was also handed an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and his victims were granted restraining orders.

His victims, who have lifetime anonymity, said they would never be able to forget the abuse they suffered but wanted to encourage other victims to come forward.

They said: “Don’t feel like people won’t believe you, don’t feel like nobody will understand, there is always someone who will listen and help.

“Call the police, speak to your GP, call a support helpline or speak to a family member or friend, even just a small chat will help.

“Nothing will take away what your abuser did to you but talking will lift a weight from your shoulders.”

Acting Detective Sergeant, Dan Young, who led the investigation, praised the victims for their courage.

He said: “This has been a crime whereby Smailes has targeted his victims when they were at their most vulnerable.

“The victims showed huge courage in standing up to Smailes and confronting the man who they describe ruined a part of their lives.

“Their strength in standing up against their abuser and seeing justice served is a testament to their strength and may help others in a similar situation to speak out.”

To report any offence, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

In an emergency call 999.