‘Determined’ paedophile, 61, sent 13-year-old girl a Valentine’s card from prison
A ‘determined and entrenched paedophile’ who carried out a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl and repeatedly raped an adult woman has been jailed for life.
Alan Higgins, 61, of Wakefield, even tried to send a Valentine’s card to his young victim while he was being held in prison on remand for the offences against her.
On another occasion Higgins drove the girl home to her parents and pretended to be the father of her teenage boyfriend after the relationship was almost exposed.
Higgins has a history of violent sexual offences against females including attempted murder and kidnap.
The pervert carried out a 10-month affair with the youngster after contacting her using a fake Facebook account.
Leeds Crown Court heard the vulnerable teenager became “infatuated” with Higgins after he showered her with gifts, including jewellery, make-up and teddy bears.
The pervert would often pick the girl up near her school and take her to motels across the country to have sex with her after giving her alcohol
At the time of the offences he was subject to licence conditions for grooming and sex offences against a 15 year-old girl committed in 2005.
The offending came to light when police executed a search warrant at his flat in Wakefield after receiving information that he had been accessing indecent images of children.
Higgins was arrested and taken into custody after images were found on electrical devices
The flat at St Catherine’s Villas, Belle Vue, was then cleared out and a book containing names, telephone numbers and sim cards along with a teddy bear were discovered hidden in the property.
Police managed to trace the victim using the information contained in the book. The girl initially denied any knowledge of Higgins and claimed to have been seeing a boy of her own age. She later told officers about the abuse.
Higgins pleaded guilty to nine serious sexual offences against a child, meeting a child following sexual grooming, arranging or facilitating travel following grooming and three offences of possessing indecent images of children.
Higgins was also found guilty of four offences of rape against a separate victim after a trial which ended yesterday. Jurors heard of the offences took place between 2005 and 2007.
Jailing Higgins, judge Robin Mairs said: “These are offences of deceit and manipulation.
“You were a man of almost 60. She was a 13-year-old child. There is no issue of meaningful consent that can arise in those circumstances.”
Higgins was told he must serve a minimum of 11-and-a-half years in custody before he can apply to the parole board for release.
DCI Steve Greenbank, Senior Investigating Officer in the case, said: “It is no exaggeration to say Higgins is very much every parent’s worst nightmare.”
The adult victim who was violently raped by Alan Higgins issued a statement after case describing her suffering.
She said: “For the last 11 years I have lived in the aftermath of Alan Higgins’ offending against me, and it has affected almost every aspect of my life.
“He made me feel weak and worthless and as though I in some way deserved what he did to me. I struggle mentally and physically in any number of ways and I still have little self confidence and trust in other people.
“The verdict will not only keep a very dangerous man locked away for the safety of other women, but means that I can now move on with my life knowing that I was never in the wrong.
“His offences were not my fault and that was proved by the verdict of the jury. I hope that my experience will encourage other victims to come forward.”
“Every parent’s worst nightmare”
Depraved Alan Higgins weaved a web of ‘deceit and manipulation’ in order to fulfill his perverted sexual desires.
The court heard the twisted details of how the 61-year-old hid his offending from authorities to groom his 13-year-old victim.
Higgins set up fake Facebook accounts, including one in the name of his former prisoner governor where he had been held at MHP North Sea Camp, in Lincolnshire.
At the time of his arrest, in February 2017, Higgins was living in Wakefield after being released on licence from an indeterminate prison sentence, imposed in 2008, for grooming and sex offences against another schoolgirl.
The offences against his latest victim came to light when police went to his flat after receiving information that child pornography had been accessed from the address.
As part of his licence conditions he was only allowed to possess one mobile phone.
Prosecutor Michael Morley said indecent images were found on two mobile phones in Higgins’ possession along with a ‘stack of love letters’ from the 13-year-old girl.
Higgins was interviewed about the letters, which contained the girl’s name, but refused to answer questions.
She was traced by police officers after the blue book was found hidden in the flat which contained names, addresses and sim cards.
The girl initially denied any knowledge of Higgins, claiming she had been seeing a boy of her own age.
She eventually revealed details of Higgins’ abuse after specialist officers gained her confidence.
Higgins and the girl first made contact when he set up a Facebook account in the name of ‘Paul Smith’.
Higgins did not tell the girl his real age and asked her if she was a virgin and had a boyfriend.
He first met her in May 2016 and drove her to a Travelodge in Skegness where they had sex.
Two weeks later Higgins bought her a Pandora ring before taking her to a motel in Mirfield for sex.
Other offences took place at premises in Lincolnshire, Blackpool and Peterborough.
On occasions the girl would be given wine to drink
Higgins would often pick the girl up from near her school before driving her away.
On one occasion the girl’s mum contacted her while she was with Higgins.
The youngster told her mum she would be staying with a friend but the lie was discovered.
During a tearful conversation with her parent the girl claimed she was staying at the home of a boy of her own age after his parents had agreed to it.
Higgins then drove the girl home and pretended to be the father of her ‘boyfriend’.
He told the girl’s mother that she had assured him that she had permission to stay at his family home.
The prosecutor said: “He told off (the girl) in front of her family for lying and told her that she had to respect her mother.”
Higgins later told police that he thought “the game was up” after that incident but he later received a text from the girl’s mother saying police would not be contacted.
The defendant also told officers that he described his offending as “hiding in plain sight” as people would think he was the father or grandfather of the girl.
Higgins and the girl had also discussed getting married, going on honeymoon to Tenerife and having children.
He managed to contact the girl in January this year while he was held in custody by sending a card from prison to the home of her grandparents.
The grandparents were confused after receiving the card which was addressed to ‘Bob and Rose’.
They were further confused by the content of the message which referred to Tenerife, Monarch Airlines and the singer Paloma Faith.
Police were contacted again when it became clear that Higgins must have sent the card as he was writing about details that were personal to the girl.
Higgins was interviewed in jail and also confessed to posting a Valentine’s card to the girl.
The girl’s father managed to intercept the card before it could reach her.
Rapist told he is ‘beyond help’ due to history of sexual violence dating from his teenage years
Sex predator Alan Higgins has a history of sexual violence dating back to when he was a schoolboy.
During his latest trial Higgins admitted to having ‘rape fantasies’ as long ago as 1971.
A judge described how he was ‘immune’ to help after he continued to offend despite taking part in sex offender treatment programmes while in custody.
Higgins carried out his first offence in 1973 when he was aged 16.
He held an air pistol against the head of a girl the same age and tried to force her to go with him to a park.
The victim screamed and managed to escape.
Higgins was arrested but claimed he had done it as a joke and was let off with a caution.
In 1999, Higgins was jailed for 15 years for attempted murder, kidnap and indecent assault of a girl aged 13.
He was working as a bus driver at the time of the attack.
Higgins managed to gain the girl’s trust after giving her a lift in his car from Keighley bus station.
He pulled on to an unmade road, threatened her with a screwdriver, assaulted her so violently she was unconscious for a time and bit her before she managed to escape.
She was found in a distressed state with extensive bruising and hair loss.
While in custody Higgins took part in a number of sex offender treatment programmes in a bid to convince prison authorities he was no longer a danger.
Judge Robin Mairs said: “You pretended to them that your rape fantasies and violence towards women was extinct. It wasn’t.
“It only lay dormant until you were released.”
Higgins then went on to commit the rape offence offences against the adult after his release from jail on licence in October 2005.
The judge added: “While this was going on you managed to persuade the probation service that you were no threat and you were signed off.”
During the same period he began exchanging details online with a 15-year-old girl, telling her he was 37.
They arranged to meet within days after she told him she was looking for sexual experience and on a number of occasions he took her to hotels for sex. On one occasion they went into woods.
Messages later recovered showed in one he had asked her if she wanted little girls’ stuff like shopping or the cinema or him to have sex with her.
On another he said: “I love you baby” and when she asked why he said: “Cos you do anything I ask without asking questions.”
Higgins, then of Ridge Crescent, Middlestown, Wakefield, was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP) with a minimum of two years after admitting four charges of sexual activity with a child and one of grooming her.
The sentencing judge described how he continued to pose a risk of physical and psychological harm to young girls.
Higgins was eventually released in January 2016 before going on to commit his latest offences against the 13-year-old girl.
Judge Mairs told Higgins: “You are a determined and entrenched paedophile.
“It would seem that you are immune to any remedial work.”