May 2022

Monster who sexually abused girls in Doncaster is jailed for 24 years – as judge praises victims’ bravery

A courageous girl stood up in court to tell the depraved monster who sexually abused her about the heartbreaking impact of his actions

She added that she wanted to see the 39-year-old, of Doncaster, ‘get what he deserves’.

During a May 10 sentencing hearing, Sheffield Crown Court heard how jurors found David Catherall guilty of a string of child sex offences including:

  • Child rape;

  • Attempted child rape;

  • Sexual activity with a child;

  • Making and taking indecent photographs and videos of his two young victims.

Catherall, of Urban Road, Hexthorpe, Doncaster, also pleaded guilty to additional offences of making indecent photographs prior to his trial, which took place last month.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on seven counts involving sex offences including rape, and the Crown Prosecution Service has subsequently offered no evidence on those counts.

Summarising the facts of the case, Judge Dixon described Catherall as someone with a ‘fascination for pre-pubescent girls’, who employed a range of manipulative tactics such as crying and even holding a knife to his own throat to ‘get what he wanted’ from the girls he sexually abused, neither of whom can be named for legal reasons.

“You are a horrible, horrible man who has ruined the start of life for two young women who deserved much, much better,” said Judge Dixon.

Judge Dixon said he also deemed Catherall to be ‘dangerous’ and said he believes Catherall will commit further serious sexual crimes against pre-pubescent girls, if given the opportunity.

Judge Dixon jailed Catherall for 24 years, with an extended licence period of five years due to the danger he poses to the public, bringing his total sentence to 29 years.

Catherall will have to serve at least two-thirds of his custodial sentence, or 16 years, before he can be considered for release as a consequence of his extended licence. Most offenders are usually only required to serve half.

He also made Catherall the subject of a life-long sexual harm prevention order

One of the girls Catherall sexually abused chose to read her victim impact statement to the court, forcing Catherall to hear exactly what she had to say in her own words.

She described how she has previously self-harmed, and still continues to; and told the court how her continued distress over the sickening abuse she suffered at Catherall’s hands has even led to her attempting to take her own life.

But the valiant victim added: “I have come to my senses, and have realised he does not deserve it… I want to be here to see him get what he deserves.”

The statement from Catherall’s second victim was read to the court on her behalf by prosecution barrister Matthew Allen Bean, and detailed the prolonged and destructive impact his abuse continues to have on her life.

The inspiring survivor described how she worries about how the psychological effects of Catherall’s abuse will affect her ‘future prospects’.

Judge David Dixon praised the bravery of both girls.

He told them: “The bravery to come forward and make allegations like this can never be under-estimated.”

“Coming into a room where people are wearing funny hats and there are 12 jurors judging you – and that’s what they are doing – takes a great deal of bravery.”

“No-one can take away what’s happened, no matter what we would like to do – that simply isn’t possible,” added Judge Dixon.