A SEXUAL ‘predator’ has been sentenced to 17 years in jail after being found guilty of raping and assaulting children in Basingstoke.
Daniel William Thomas, 45, of Lovetot Avenue, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was found guilty of 10 charges following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.
The charges related to offences against five victims aged between six and 13-years-old, and took place between 1987 and 1990 in Basingstoke.
Amongst the charges Thomas was found guilty of were: rape, indecent assault and gross indecency with a child.
The issue came to light in 2007 when one of the victims made a report to the police.
During the trial the court heard that Thomas targeted vulnerable children and that he, in certain cases, used weapons to threaten the children whilst he was raping and abusing them.
An investigation carried out by Hampshire Constabulary found a further two victims and Thomas was then charged with eight offences that concerned the initial three victims.
Following this, a further two victims came forward after publicity of the charges. Thomas was then charged with a further two offences.
In sentencing, Judge David Dixon said Thomas acted in a ‘predatory manner’ to isolate his victims, using his reputation as a ‘thug’ to ensure their silence.
After the trial, Detective Constable Craig Ferguson said: “This was a protracted and detailed investigation, which spanned a decade of policing, and I would like to pay tribute to the victims in this case who have shown tremendous courage and resilience.
“As children, they suffered some of the worst crimes imaginable. Thomas used predatory methods to isolate young, vulnerable children, who he then forced himself upon. The offences were violent and extremely aggressive.
“After he had raped and abused these children Thomas threatened each of them warning that he would harm their families and they would be taken into care if they spoke out against him.
“Hampshire Constabulary is committed to ensuring that these crimes are investigated carefully and in the greatest detail.
“We will support and help those people who find the strength to come forward irrespective of when these horrific crimes took place.”
Thomas was sentenced to a total of 17 years in prison and will be on the sex offenders register for life.