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Why was pervert allowed to roam?
A judge has criticised the probation service after a sex offender, who had been assessed as low risk, tried to rape a 12-year-old schoolgirl.
Charles Wood, 23, who is 6ft 7ins tall and weighs about 15 stone, made the terrified girl strip naked on an isolated footpath, then twice tried to rape her and forced her to perform another sex act.
Leeds Crown Court heard that Wood – who was jailed for ten years after admitting attempted rape – had pleaded guilty to three offences of indecent exposure with intent to insult a female in October 2002.
Prosecutor Richard Newbury said that Wood, who lived with in Bracken Edge, Thorpe Edge, Bradford, drove around Pudsey looking for women, who he would call over to his car while he carried out a sex act.
He was sentenced to a three-year Community Rehabilitation Order with the condition to attend a sex offenders’ programme.
But Judge Roger Scott noted yesterday that a pre-sentence probation report said Wood had been assessed as a low risk and placed lower on the waiting list to attend a sex offenders’ group. Someone should be “embarrassed” about that assessment, he said.
Sentencing Wood, Judge Scott said: “This offence takes place against a background of the probation service and people organising that order saying that they thought you were low risk and low deviancy.
“You pursued a 12-year-old child. When you caught up with her you made her strip, you threw away her mobile phone and you attempted to have intercourse with her.”
Judge Scott added: “You are a very considerable danger to the female population of the UK. It is necessary to protect the public.
“This child was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am quite prepared to call it an horrific crime.”
Mr Newbury said that at 8.10pm on January 21 this year a 31-year-old woman was in the front room of her house in Bolton, Bradford, when there was a tap on the window.
She saw Wood, a driver and labourer, looking directly at her and carrying out a sex act.
The woman then saw Wood follow the 12-year-old, who had walked past the house, down a passageway leading to an isolated, unlit path, and called police.
PC Brian Johnson found the girl whimpering and trying to dress herself.
Detective Constable Ian Thornton and PC Kim Wandless tracked Wood down to a tunnel under King’s Road and he was arrested.
Mr Newbury said the girl had been in total fear of Wood, who was about to rape her when they heard the sound of the police approaching.
Wood fled, leaving his work bag behind.
Detective Sergeant John McGuire told the court the girl was back at school and had coped well with what had happened to her.
Judge Scott described her as “a plucky little girl.”
Judge Scott told Wood he would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and he would be on extended licence for a further four years at the end of his prison sentence.
After the case, Detective Inspector Noel Devine, of Bradford North CID, said: “This was an horrendous attack on an innocent schoolgirl.
“Wood is a very dangerous individual and we are delighted that he has been locked up for a long time.
“The girl has been remarkably brave and we hope that she can rebuild her life.”