December 2020

Victims reveal devastating impact of decades of abuse as Sheffield paedophile jailed

A paedophile who abused four children in Sheffield between the 1980s and the early 2000s has been given a 34-year extended prison sentence.

Paul Degenhart, formerly of Raeburn Road, Sheffield, groomed and abused the victims, including by introducing them to drugs.

Sheffield Crown Court heard he took a vulnerable boy from London to Sheffield before he moved on to raping him with ‘devastating physical and psychological’ consequences.

In October this year, the 48-year-old, who by this point had moved to Cherwell Close, Brimington, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, was convicted of 33 offences and remanded in custody after a trial.

The jury unanimously found him guilty of four counts of rape, two of a serious sexual offence, one of attempted rape, 20 of indecent assault and six of indecency with a child.

Degenhart had two relevant and old previous convictions.

On Friday, he was told he must serve a custodial period of 31 years followed by a three-year period on licence.

The defendant was added to the sex offenders register for life but was not made subject to a sexual harm prevention order.

Degenhart appeared in court via a video link from Doncaster prison where he appeared to make a note of his sentence on a white envelope.

Prosecutor Michael Smith read victim personal statements to the court on behalf of a number of the victims.

One of the victims said the abuse led to him struggling with drug abuse and being sent to prison.

Another one of the victims said the abuse affected his relationship with his partner, adding: “Sometimes I scrub myself until I get sore.”

He said that after reporting it to police the abuse was on his mind more and he got into gambling debt to keep his mind busy.

Another one of the victims said: “I have nothing but trouble with relationships . . . I believe the abuse has ruined my sex life. Intimacy is impossible.”

He said it caused him to be overprotective of his son to the extent that his partner told him that the only way to move on was to report the abuse to police.

He said he has conditions including ADHD, borderline personality disorder and depression, all of which he attributes to the abuse, and has made three attempts to take his own life.

October 2020

Child rapist found guilty 

A 48-year-old man has been found guilty of multiple counts of child sexual offences.

Paul Andrew Degenhart has been on trial at Sheffield Crown Court since Monday 5 October charged with 34 counts of child sexual offences, including 20 counts of indecent assault, seven counts of indecency with a child and four counts of rape.

After three days of deliberations, a jury found Degenhart guilty of 33 offences – 20 counts of indecent assault, six counts of indecency with a child, four counts of rape, two counts of buggery and one count of attempted rape.

The court heard how Degenhart, formerly of Raeburn Road, Sheffield, sexually abused four children in Sheffield in the 1980s and 1990s.