May 2018

‘The devil is waiting for you’, terminally ill Leeds sex offender who abused girls as young as 11 told

A terminally ill sex offender was told “you are going to hell” by one of his victims as he was jailed for 36 years for the horrific abuse of seven girls.

Harry Wood was finally brought to justice today, weeks before he is expected to die in prison. 

The 59-year-old pervert subjected his young victims to rape and other violent sex offences committed when he was aged between 11 and 40 years old

A court heard Wood has a terminal condition and is receiving palliative care in prison.

He appeared before Leeds Crown Court to be sentenced after admitting 38 offences against victims who were aged between two and 17 years old.

Victims, all now adults, wept as the court heard how they had suffered a lifetime of torment as a result of Wood’s offending.

Two of the women chose to address Wood personally and read victim statements aloud in court.

One said: “You ruined my childhood. “You did not care about my screams and me begging you to leave me alone. “All you care about is yourself. You put me through so much pain.”

“You are going to hell, and believe me, the devil is going to be waiting there for you.” Another victim said: “I do not hate you. Only God can judge a person. “I am reading this to give you an understanding of how this has affected me growing up.”

Prosecutor David Hall also read statements on behalf of other victims. One statement read: “This man made me suffer. I hope he suffers for the rest of his life in prison – because he is a monster.”

The women described suffering from depression and anxiety for years after being targeted by Wood.

Wood, of Borrowdale Terrace, Seacroft, was on trial in December last year facing further charges in addition to the offences he pleaded guilty to.

The trail had to be abandoned after he became ill.

His medical condition has since deteriorated. Prosecutors will not seek a re-trial due to his illness. Wood appeared in court on a video link from Armley jail.

He was sat in a wheelchair and used an inhaler during the hearing. Mr Hall described how Wood had subjected the girls to degrading attacks.

Violence and threats were often used towards the victims.

Wood also threatened to harm victims’ relatives if they ever told anyone about the abuse.

Many of the attacks carried out by Wood would have been regarded as rape offences under modern legislation.

Wood pleaded guilty to a total of seven offences of rape, three of attempted rape, four of gross indecency with a child, one of attempted buggery and 23 indecent assaults.

Sentencing Wood, judge Christopher Batty said: “The selfishness of people like you is quite breathtaking. “Life revolves around your sexual gratification and you are prepared to use anyone to satisfy your needs, with a callous disregard for the consequences upon their lives.”

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