November 2014

Child rapist has appeal refused by judges

A SICK sex predator, caged for raping a schoolgirl over 20 years ago, has lost his legal bid to clear his name.

John Richard Huckle was jailed for 13 years at Luton Crown Court in March 2010.

The crushing punishment was imposed after the jury convicted Huckle of rape and other charges of indecent assault and indecency with a child.

Huckle, who was living in Biggleswade, consistently denied his crimes but was disbelieved by jurors.

The “controlling” 56-year-old, of High Street, Hail Weston, near St Neots, was only brought to justice after his victim found the courage to come forward in 2008.

The judge who sentenced him said he had stripped his victim of her innocence in “shocking and painful” acts of abuse.

In her testimony Huckle’s victim said she had felt “dirty and used”.

But Huckle’s case reached London’s Appeal Court yesterday (Thursday, November 27) as he challenged the “safety” of his convictions.

His legal team claimed there were flaws in the judge’s directions to the jury which undermined the fairness of his trial.

But Lord Justice Bean, sitting with Mr Justice Nicol and Judge Peter Collier QC, said the judge’s handling of the case was “entirely appropriate”.

He concluded: “The summing-up did not render these convictions unsafe and the appeal against conviction is dismissed”.

March 2010

Rapist jailed for 1980s sex abuse in Bedfordshire

A man has been jailed for 13 years for rape and a series of sex offences from the 1980s and 1990s in Bedfordshire.

John Huckle, 51, of High Street, Hail Weston, near St Neots, Cambridgeshire, denied the 12 charges but was convicted by a jury in January.

The charges involve one allegation of rape, two of indecency with a child and nine of indecent assault committed between 1987 and 1996.

Luton Crown Court heard Huckle had been living in Biggleswade at the time.

Judge Jeffrey Burke QC told him: “This was serious and persistent sexual abuse.

“You are a controlling man and your victim felt helpless to complain. You removed her innocence.”

‘Shocking and painful’

Huckle must register as a sex offender for life, never work with children and abide by a Sexual Offences Prevention Order indefinitely.

At his trial, prosecutor Bozzie Sheffi said the allegations were not made until 2008, when the victim told her mother and the police.

She gave evidence from the witness box and said she had found the abuse “shocking and painful”.

Huckle claimed there was no truth in the allegations.

Miss Sheffi said the victim, who is now in her 30s, had made a victim impact statement in which she described feeling “dirty and used” as a result of the abuse.

Thomas Brown, defending, said his client still protested his innocence.

“He cannot accept he is guilty but knows that because of the jury’s verdict he will receive a long custodial sentence,” he added.