July 2016

Bridgwater man given extended sentence for “abhorrent” child abuse

cook

A 67-year-old child rapist convicted of 16 sexual offences against children as young as 5-years-old has been jailed for 20 years.

Leonard Cook, of the Sydenham area of Bridgwater, admitted the offences at a previous hearing at Taunton Crown Court.

It took Taunton Crown Court’s legal advisor over half an hour to read through all the charges, which relate to several different girls, who were all between the age of five and 11 when the alleged abuse took place.

They included nine counts of sexual assault and one count of rape.

He appeared before the same court today (28/7) where he was sentenced to 20 years in jail with an extended licence of five years.

He will have to serve a minimum of 14 years before he is eligible for parole.

The offences relate to eight victims who were all under 13 and Cook’s offending spanned from 1990 to 2015.

He was arrested in August 2015 when the mother of one of the victims contacted the police with her concerns.

The resulting police investigation identified further victims and resulted in Cook being charged with multiple offences.

June 2016

Bridgwater man denies poisoning children but admits rape and sexual assault

A BRIDGWATER man appeared in court charged with a string of offences, including raping, sexually assaulting and poisoning children.

Leonard Cook was charged with 39 different offences of child sex abuse covering 11 different victims over more than 20 years, from the early 1980s to the present day.

The 67-year-old, from Weacombe Road, Bridgwater, appeared at Taunton Crown Court and pleaded guilty to 16 of the 39 counts.

They include:

  • Indecent assault on a child under the age of 16

  • Indecent assault on a child under the age of 16

  • Sexual assault with sexual touching on a child between the ages of eight and ten

  • Rape of a child under the age of 13

  • Assault on a child under the age of 13 with penetration

It took Taunton Crown Court’s legal advisor over half an hour to read through all the charges, which relate to 11 different girls, who were all between the age of five and 11 when the alleged abuse took place.

An application for Mr Cook to appear in the court for sentencing by video link was denied by Judge David Ticehurst.

Defending Patrick Mason said: “”He does not want to be there.”

But the judge said: “I rather understand that he does not want to be here, but he ought to be here, and I want to see him in my courtroom. He will not be appearing via video link.”

Cook will face trial for the denied offences on July 25

.He will be sentenced on July 28 and was remanded in custody until then.

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