September 2017: Now released and living in bail hostel in Sunderland

June 2012

Karate ace jailed for child abuse

A karate expert who sexually abused pupils, including during a lesson on fighting off sex attackers, has been jailed for 10 years.

Henry Cook, known as Harry, also had more than 55,000 child sexual abuse images and 600 videos on his computer.

He abused five girls in his class, one as young as 11, in what the judge at Newcastle Crown Court described as “the most appalling catalogue of sexual depravity” which spanned 26 years.

Cook, 62, of Haltwhistle, Northumberland, (origionally from South Shields) who has written a critically-acclaimed book on the martial art, even abused one of his young victims during a lesson on how to tackle sex attackers.

He befriended his victims, groomed them with gifts of perfume, books and skimpy clothes, then sexually abused them in the loft of his home, in his mother’s house, in abandoned buildings and in a dojo – a Japanese-style martial arts gym – in his back garden. Many of the incidents took place while his wife and family, who have now disowned him, were at home.

After Cook was jailed, one of his victims said in a statement: “After living with the immense horror for over 20 years I feel some justification and I’m relieved that people can now see him for what he truly is.

“He is the lowest form of predator taking advantage of young and vulnerable girls and abusing his position of trust. I feel total disgust and loathing towards him for all he has done and he is now where he belongs. I hope he remains in prison for a very long time.”

Following the hearing, Cook’s family said they had the utmost respect and sympathy for his victims.

In a statement they said: “The whole family have been deeply distressed by what has come to light over the past months and would like to make it known that we utterly condemn his actions, and have totally renounced him.

“We applaud the courage of those victims who have come forward, and we would like to thank all those people and organisations who have offered us help and supported us throughout these very difficult times. We are eternally grateful for their goodness and humanity.”

January 2012

Haltwhistle karate teacher Harry Cook facing jail for abusing pupils

A RENOWNED martial arts expert from Northumberland will be spending a significant period of time behind bars after admitting sexually abusing young pupils.

Henry Cook, known as Harry, was a hugely respected karate instructor who taught hundreds of children and even wrote books on the sport.

Now he has admitted sexually assaulting five of his young female pupils in a shocking breach of trust. The married father, from Haltwhistle, Northumberland, was also found to have one of the largest child pornography archives ever seized in the North East, with more than 55,000 sick images – including some of the girls he molested.

The 62-year-old, a seventh dan master, has been remanded in custody and is facing a substantial prison term when he is sentenced in March.

He had already admitted 14 charges of indecently assaulting two girls, one in the 1980s and the other more recently, at a previous hearing.

He was brought back to Newcastle Crown Court yesterday to face a further 29 offences and admitted all of them.

The latest charges to which he confessed included 15 indecent or sexual assaults on three girls over an eight-year period.

Cook further admitted 13 counts of making and possessing indecent photographs of children and one of possessing extreme pornography involving animals. He had a total of 55,585 child pornography images. Prosecutor Amanda Rippon told the court: “Some of the images are of the victims of the indecent assaults.”

Cook, formerly of Castle Hill Terrace, Haltwhistle, who has been remanded in custody since early last year. Jamie Adams, defending, said: “The court maybe assisted by a psychiatric assessment of the defendant.”

Cook is a well known figure in the martial arts world and although he taught mainly in Hexham and Haltwhistle, he gave lessons all over the world. He founded his own school, the Seijinkai Karatedo Association, to teach his blend of Shotokan and Goju-ryu karate styles. The association now has branches in Ireland, Norway, and the United States of America, as well as the UK.

News of his offending has shocked those who knew him in the karate world.

Cook, originally from South Shields, South Tyneside, is a seventh dan master of two forms of karate, studied at Durham University and after training as a school teacher, devoted his life to the martial art.

AS a leading karate authority, Harry Cook became one of the most respected figures in the sport.

He wrote the definitive analysis of Shotokan, a book which now sells for hundreds of pounds.

While studying Chinese at Durham University in the early 1970s, he set up a karate club which won the 1973 and 1974 British university championships.

Cook spent three years teaching the sport in Japan, first in Tokyo and then in Kyoto.

Living in Haltwhistle, west Tynedale, Cook, who also specialised in goju-ryu, ran a twice-weekly karate club in the Tyne Valley.

Last night a minister whose church played host to some of Cook’s lessons, told of his shock when Cook’s sordid background was uncovered.