January 2023

Essex sex offender who assaulted child jailed for sex attacks

A pensioner who told a child to “shh” while he sexually assaulted them has been put behind bars.

Leslie Cook, 71, assaulted the child in 2020.

Police officers said the offence came to light when the victim disclosed what had happened to their family.

The prosecutor in the case told Chelmsford Crown Court that Cook “tested the water” with his victim before going on to abuse them.

Judge Mary Loram KC said Cook, of St Osyth Road, Little Clacton, groomed the child before launching two sex attacks on the same day.

Cook was jailed for five years, put on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely, and limited by the conditions of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which has been granted for ten years.

Cook had denied sexual assault of a child and causing a child to engage in sexual activity but was convicted of the offences by a jury last month.

A life-long restraining order was also put in place against the victim during the sentencing on Friday.

A victim impact statement read to the court on behalf of the child’s mother said they often become tearful while at school.

She said: “I witnessed my once very confident [child], who I would describe as chatty, become very reclusive and scared.”

Judge Loram said Cook “continued to blame” the victim and gave a “petty example” of them lying to try to discredit them.

She added: “You put your fingers over your mouth to indicate to them not to say anything.

“Two times you abused them. If they thought it was over they soon realised it wasn’t.”