December 2018

Monster raped ‘scared and crying’ children leaving them traumatised for life

A pervert who raped and sexually assaulted two teenage boys over a 14 year period was today jailed for 18 years.

Karl McLeish groomed his victims, plying them with alcohol, giving them money and odd jobs as he tried to gain their trust, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Now 54, the sexual abuse at different locations, some in St Helens, others in London and also Somerset.

McLeish still denies the offences, but a jury found him guilty of 13 counts including rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, indecent assault, and sexual touching.

In one case, McLeish engaged in sexual activity with a dog while one of his teenage victims was forced to watch.

Judge Anil Murray told the Haydock man, of Penny Lane, that he went to events around the UK with them, and lavished gifts and treats on them, in a calculated way.

He met his first victim, who cannot be named, when he was 16, and gave him booze before touching his penis when on a trip to London.

During one rape, the young schoolboy was “scared and crying, but you just carried on,” said Judge Murray.

One of the victims kept the abuse a secret for years because he was scared of any reprisals against him, Martine Snowdon, prosecuting, said.

He has since turned to drugs.

There were tears in the public gallery when friends and relatives of those abused realised McLeish was to be sentenced to almost two decades in prison.

One woman stormed out of court, unable to listen anymore to the shocking details outlined by the prosecution.

McLeish’s second victim was targeted when he was 14 years old, and who the defendant was paid to look after.

Judge Murray told him: “You were in a position of trust and you groomed him.

“You took him to events around the country, you got him gifts and said you’d give him cigarettes…you showed him pornography…you told him you would batter him if you didn’t return.”

Judge Murray said his abuse of that victim began with touching over the schoolboy’s clothing, but soon turned to rape, with McLeish throwing the teen on the bed and sexually attacking him.

The now-adult suffered regular night terrors, and often woke up screaming.

He completely lost his trust in people, it was heard, and has once attempted to commit suicide.

McLeish, who looked impassive as the case was put before him, showed no emotion as he was led down to the cell.

He was a man of previous good character, his barrister Michael Hegarty said, who looked after his mother, who is elderly and unwell.

His pre-sentence report concluded McLeish still has “distorted thinking” towards children as a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) was imposed against him.

He must also sign the Sex Offender’s Register for life.

Judge Murray said the fact that there was a gap of 14 years between the sexual offences demonstrated his sexual offending was “entrenched.”

In Victim Impact Statements, it was heard how the sexual abuse “devastated” the life of the first victim, causing him to turn to drugs and lose a lot of weight.

“He has been unable to move on from it,” Ms Snowdon said, and he described his life as being “ruined” because of the offending.

The second now-adult male who was sexually attacked still has to sleep with the light on and with his parents sitting in his bedroom until he eventually falls asleep.

He wets the bed, Ms Snowdon added, which he finds “embarrassing”, and is in a “constant state of vigilance at college.”

“He is in constant fear of McLeish coming back.

“He cannot understand why these terrible events happened….he’s threatened to take his own life and so his family have to know where he is and that he is safe.”

His parents said they were “living in fear and stress.”

Mr Hegarty, representing McLeish, said his client had “grave concerns” about how his 81-year-old mother would cope while his behind bars.

The barrister urged Judge Murray to not impose an extra sentence for the protection of the public.