January 1999

Department store child rapist gets life

A SEX attacker was jailed for life yesterday after a court heard he turned his twisted fantasies into reality by preying on young boys, including raping one in the toilets of a busy city-centre store.

Alun Evans targeted youngsters during their summer holidays and subjected a six-year-old boy playing by a railway line to a horrific attack in 1995, when his crime went undetected at the time.

But Leeds Crown Court heard his “campaign of offending” was brought to an end last year after he was captured on film by security cameras on the day he raped a 13-year-old boy in the BhS toilets in Leeds.

Tom Bayliss, prosecuting, said the victim and a witness who tried to catch the rapist described Evans so well that police were able to spot him on security films taken at the store and the Bond Street shopping centre. He was identified after his picture was published.

Evans, 23, of Bankfield Avenue, Kirkheaton, Huddersfield, admitted the rape in August, attempted rape on the six-year-old in 1995 and indecent assault on another boy in 1996.

Jailing him for life, the Recorder of Leeds Judge Brian Walsh QC described him as “extremely dangerous and a considerable risk to the public for the foreseeable future”. He said Evans had a disturbed personality which led him to commit offences of “a predatory nature” on young boys. His history showed a clear pattern of increasing seriousness, culminating in the dreadful rape.

“You must be detained and not released until such a time, if ever, that it be judged you no longer pose such a risk.” Judge Walsh awarded Gordon Rawlings, who tried to catch Evans after the rape £100 out of public funds for his actions. Commending police officers involved in the case, the judge said it highlighted the value of security cameras in city centres.

The court heard that Evans was put on probation by magistrates in 1992 at the age of 17 for two indecent assaults on boys. Mr Bayliss said the first of those offences was in June that year, when Evans approached two 13-year-old boys at Dalton Bank quarry. One escaped but the other was made to take off his trousers and was molested.

Evans was on bail for that attack when he grabbed a schoolboy aged 14 as he was sitting on a bridge overlooking the Rochdale canal at Todmorden. He dragged the boy into bushes and was indecently assaulting him when he was disturbed and caught by a passer-by.

Mr Bayliss said the latest series of offences began in 1995, when Evans attacked a six-year-old boy playing with friends on a railway embankment near Mirfield. After putting on a yellow fluorescent jacket making him look like a railway worker, he approached the group of children, who ran off.

Evans gave chase and caught the youngest, forcing him into bushes, where he tried to rape him. The attack was reported to police but Evans was not found. The following summer he befriended two brothers and, after he gained the trust of their parents, the boys were allowed to stay at his home. On six or seven occasions Evans indecently assaulted one of the boys, aged 10 or 11, but remained free to continue offending until the rape.

The victim of last August’s rape had got bored while shopping with his mother and sister and was allowed to go off briefly on his own. He went window shopping at sports stores before going into the toilets at BhS.

Unbeknown to him, he was being followed by Evans, who had targeted another boy to attack but had lost him in the shopping centre. He told police later he then saw the schoolboy and chose him instead.

As the boy was washing his hands, Evans grabbed him and dragged him into a cubicle, where he raped him in spite of his distress and struggles.

Mr Rawlings realised something was seriously wrong when he saw Evans leave the toilets and found the boy. He chased the rapist but lost him.

Jennifer Kershaw QC, for Evans, said he wanted to express regret to his victims and their families. He had been a victim himself but reports indicated he was not yet beyond help.

‘You hope you are going to have pride in your children but you never anticipate it will be in a situation like this’

The father of the schoolboy raped by Alun Evans praised his son’s courage in trying to cope with his terrible ordeal – including having to wait months for the results of an HIV test.

“You always hope you are going to have pride in your children but you never anticipate it will be in a situation like this,” he said after the case. “I have to say I felt incredibly proud of him as he took the police through what happened. It cannot have been easy to do that particularly when I was listening.”

He said his son had been determined to give evidence in court if necessary but had not had to do so in the end.

“Now I can go home and tell him the system has worked and his attacker has been locked up for life. That might help to restore some of his faith.”

Judge Brian Walsh QC heard that the boy suffered enormous trauma because of the horrific attack. His self-confidence has gone and he now has a great fear of going out on his own or even being alone at home. He was terrified he would catch the HIV virus and die and had to wait several months before tests revealed he was clear.

The teenager’s father paid tribute to the police for their support throughout the case, particularly Det Con John Rowson. “They really have been tremendous keeping us informed of everything that was happening, and John has been exceptional in the way he has tried to help us all.”

Det Supt Eddie Hemsley, who led the inquiry, said: “Our sympathy goes out to the boy and his family. At least he now knows that this dangerous man is behind bars.”