January 2020

Former Wrexham wrestler and children’s home worker jailed for sexually abusing two young boys

A former professional wrestler has been jailed for a second time for his part in a paedophile ring which targeted boys at care homes in North Wales.

Gary Cooke, also known as Mark Grainger, was jailed for four years at Chester Crown Court on Friday following a National Crime Agency [NCA] investigation as part of Operation Pallial.

The 69-year-old, from Wrexham, pleaded guilty yesterday to four counts of sexual abuse and seven counts of indecent assault against his two young victims.

Cooke is already serving a 14 year prison sentence following a separate Operation Pallial investigation.

He was convicted in 2015 for a catalogue of serious sexual assaults against young boys.

Cooke had a number of jobs including children’s care home worker, judo instructor, sex shop owner and professional wrestler.

The first of the two new victims who came forward was assaulted in 1977, at the age of 14, while in a care home run by the Bryn Allen group in Cheshire.

At the time, Cooke was 26 years old and targeted the victim within the first two weeks of the victim arriving at the home.

Having promised him a visit to the cinema, he drove him in a vehicle to a secluded location where he sexually abused him.

The victim told NCA officers that after the first attack Cooke said: “You really liked that didn’t you? You and me are going to be very good friends, I can tell.”

Subsequently, for a period of nine months, Cooke continued his sexual abuse and manipulated the victim through fear including the threat of jail, bribery and verbal attacks.

After the victim attempted to report the abuse, Cooke rapidly discharged him from the home citing that he was ready for normal school

The second victim was approached by Cooke while living in a care home in the same year, and was sexually abused between the ages of 14 and 17.

Cooke would regularly take the victim to his home, supply him with alcohol and subject him to abuse. Sometimes he would give him cash. He also took him to parties at pubs and clubs in Chester where the victim was further abused.

The victim recounted to NCA officers: “I don’t remember fighting him. I don’t know why I let him do it.”

Both victims told NCA officers that Cooke took photos of the attacks, and also showed them photos of other young boys.

Mr Marshall added: “These victims have been incredibly courageous, relaying excruciating memories from their past to law enforcement officers. They have suffered at the hands of this man who deliberately exploited their vulnerability.

Operation Pallial began in November 2012 and has seen 13 people convicted for crimes.