Britain’s most infamous paedo Sidney Cooke, 96, fails in latest bid for freedom

Paedophile killer Sidney Cooke, once described as a "real-life Hannibal Lecter", has been knocked back after his latest attempt at gaining freedom from prison.

The 96-year-old wheelchair-bound criminal was knocked back by the Parole Board again, and told that he continues to pose a "very high risk of serious harm to children" and will not be released from prison.

The beast was jailed for life in 1999 with a minimum of five years for historical abuse and will now remain in maximum security Wakefield Prison, West Yorkshire, despite having completed his minimum term 19 years ago.

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The Mirror reported that his eleventh bid for freedom was denied, on Monday, May 22.

It said in a summary of the decision: "After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was not satisfied that Mr Cooke was suitable for release.

"Nor did the panel recommend to the Secretary of State that Mr Cooke should be transferred to an open prison.

"The panel considered that Mr Cooke was appropriately located in custody where outstanding levels of risk could be addressed."

Cooke gave evidence at the Parole Board hearing in Wakefield Prison, West Yorks, earlier this month where he was represented by a lawyer.

It heard from a Prison Service psychologist and two probation officers handling his case.

They said he had completed sex offender programmes while in custody but assessments found he needed to do further work which remains outstanding.

The summary said: "The panel heard that Mr Cooke is assessed as presenting a very high risk of serious harm to children, a high risk of serious harm to the public and that he is a high risk of committing a further sexual offence.

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"Witnesses did not support Mr Cooke’s release or for him to progress to an open prison."

It said "risk factors" at the time of his offending included having "antisocial friends", alcohol misuse, and "thinking it is acceptable to sexually abuse children".

Cooke believed he could have sex as and when he wanted to and preferred it to include "violent or controlling behaviour", the panel found.

Cooke, from Hackney, East London, was convicted of manslaughter in 1989 for the killing of Jason Swift, 14.

But he was also named in court as the leader of a paedophile ring which murdered Mark Tildesley, seven.

Mark's remains have never been found and a member of the "Dirty Dozen" gang said Cooke disposed of his body.

Cooke and his gang are suspected of the abduction and murder of 17 boys in the 70s and 80s.

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website,


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