Febuary 2008

Life for sick paedophile

A PAEDOPHILE was jailed for life yesterday after a judge heard how he refuses to accept he has done anything wrong.

Frail bachelor John Rhucroft told police his young victims wanted him to abuse them because they did not tell him to stop.

He also said in interviews with detectives and probation workers that the girls – aged six and seven – had encouraged him by flirting.

Rhucroft, 63, was told by Judge Peter Armstrong that he was a significant danger and that he will probably die behind bars.

The judge imposed a minimum sentence of seven years before Rhucroft can apply for parole, but said: “It would be unlikely that you will ever be released.”

Relatives of the girls who packed the public gallery at Teesside Crown Court screamed “rot in hell” and “you animal” as he was led away.

Rhucroft was also banned for life from having unsupervised contact with under-18s after he admitted rape, attempted rape and sexual assaults.

The court heard how he was caught after a neighbour watched from a window as he took the two girls into his Middlesbrough home last summer.

Sarah Mallett, prosecuting, said the youngsters endured a half-hour ordeal as Rhucroft systematically abused one then the other on August 10.

Rhucroft, a one-time aircraft painter for the RAF, was arrested the next day after the girls had been interviewed.

He told police he had imagined himself abusing children since his 30s and went on to say he carried out the attacks to “please the girls”.

Ms Mallett said he told also told officers: “When people are flaunting you take it as a signal, don’t you? They were enjoying it.”

Judge Armstrong told Rhucroft, of Bell Street, that his opinion was the typical “distorted thinking of the paedophile”.

He added: “It reinforces to me that you are a danger and will remain a danger to the public for a period of time that no one is able to estimate.”

Peter Wishlade, for Rhucroft, told the court there was nothing he could say to mitigate for what he described as the “horrendous, reprehensible offences”. He said that other than a conviction 30 years ago for exposure while Rhucroft was posted to Scotland, he had been a decent man.