April 2023

Pontefract man jailed for ‘disgraceful’ repeated rape of young girl in the 1970s

A Pontefract man has been jailed for repeatedly raping a girl in the 1970s and “ruining her life”.

Alan Booth, 65, of Skinner Lane in Pontefract, was sentenced to four years in prison at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday (April 20) after being found guilty of two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault after a trial earlier this year.

The crimes happened between 1973 and 1976 when the victim was as young as 10 or 11.

A victim impact statement was read out in court, in which the victim said she had put the attacks to the “back of my head” throughout her life. She added that coming forward to the police about what happened and having to talk about it during the trial was a “horrendous experience”.

Sentencing Booth, Mr Recorder Hawks said that Booth continued to deny the offences and that as a result he could not give him any credit. The charges were also aggravated because he had threatened the victim not to tell anyone about the abuse.

Mr Hawks said: “You have blighted and ruined her life. Your offending was disgraceful.”

The judge explained that by law he had to issue Booth with a sentence equivalent to what he would have received if he had been arrested at the time of the offences in the 1970s.

He said that because it was not wholly clear whether Booth was 18 when the crimes took place, he had to give him the “benefit of the doubt” and assume that he was not.

Mr Hawks said he was “ashamed to say” that Booth would likely not have been charged over the indecent assault at the time but that for the charges of rape he would have been sentenced to “Borstal Training”, which was a type of young offenders institute at the time.

The judge said that the equivalent of that in today’s terms is four years in prison, which is what he sentenced Booth to.

He was also given an indefinite restraining order against the victim and placed on the sex offenders register for life.