May 2010

Paedophile jailed 35 years after his sex crimes

A PAEDOPHILE who escaped justice for 35 years was finally jailed yesterday after his victim saw him last year walking past a seaside cafe window.

The victim, who was 11 in the Seventies when the offences took place, was in court with his wife when Desmond Cooper, 56, was jailed at Teesside Crown Court, but could not bear to look at him.

Cooper initially silenced him by threatening to kill him, said prosecutor Paul Cleasby.

The sighting last June outside the cafe in Saltburn brought the childhood nightmares flooding back for the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Soon afterwards, he walked to a lonely beauty spot where he thought about killing himself, but instead he plucked up the courage to tell the police.

Cooper committed sex offences against him in his car and in his home, threatening to kill him and hurt his younger sister if he did not submit to his demands, added Mr Cleasby.

He said the victim, now a father, was still deeply affected by what Cooper did to him over a period of months in 1974 and 1975. He would never let his children out of the house at night, and had received counselling.

Cooper admitted that he had been a prolific and predatory paedophile who had committed more child sex offences before and since, said the judge.

Katharine Dunn, defending Cooper, said he wanted her to apologise in court to the victim, and to tell him that he had received extensive counselling and monitoring.

Miss Dunn added: “Since committing these offences he has not only been subject to a probation order, a custodial sentence, but also a restricted hospital order.

“Since being released from the hospital he still felt that he had difficulty in controlling sexual urges, so he went down to Surrey and signed up for a residential course which has been intensive.

“Since leaving that hospital and being monitored by all the agencies he has not committed any further offence.”

Miss Dunn asked Judge Peter Bowers not to send Cooper to prison, but to impose, instead, a community sentence with continued supervision.

The judge told him: “You admit that up to the last 10 years you had a life as a prolific and predatory paedophile, and that you committed offences against this young boy 35 years ago.

“You were committing offences and were cajoling and threatening against this young boy over a period of months, and it must have come as an enormous shock to him to see someone he thought was you 35 years later, and that drove him almost to the point of suicide.

“I don’t think I can completely overlook these offences.”

Cooper of Vicarage Drive, Marske-by-the-Sea, was jailed for two-and-a-half years, ordered to register as a sex offender for life, and given an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning him from contact with youngsters under 18, after he pleaded guilty to five specimen offences of indecent assault and one of an attempted serious sexual offence.