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Halifax man, 92, jailed for 14 years for historical rape and sex abuse offences

Bradford Crown Court
Bradford Crown Court

A Halifax pensioner who robbed two women of their childhood has been jailed for 14 years after becoming one of the country’s oldest sex offenders.

Enoch Winchurch, 92, was found guilty by a jury at Bradford Crown Court on Thursday of a series of offences against the two complainants and this morning (Fri) a judge sentenced him to 14 years in prison.

Winchurch, of Albert Avenue, Pellon, shouted from the dock that the allegations were lies and he had done nothing wrong, but one of his brave victims, who was sat in the public gallery, stood up and responded:”You ******* well have. You know you did. Stop lying.”

The jury found Winchurch, who is in poor health and struggles to walk with the aid of two elbow crutches, guilty of one allegation of rape, one of attempted rape, six charges of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child.

The allegations date back more than 40 years and because of Winchurch’s denials both women had to give evidence during his trial.

The court heard that Winchurch raped one of the complainants in his bed and also tried to rape the other victim on a separate occasion.

“You continue to deny the offences,” Recorder Anthony Hawks told Winchurch.

“You forced those two women, in highly distressing circumstances, to relive their experiences in a public court.

“Your behaviour has had a devastating effect on the lives of those two women.

“I have read victim personal statements which they have made in this case but I’ve also had the opportunity to see both of them in the witness box.

“You robbed those women of their childhood, but in a way it goes further than that because your behaviour, to satisfy your own perverted desires, robbed those two women of a normal happy life. That is the pernicious nature of abusing a child.”

In their victim statements both women described how they still suffered from flashbacks and said they could not forgive Winchuch for what he had done to them.

Barrister Giles Bridge, for Winchurch, conceded that his client’s previous good character and age carried little weight in such cases, but he said the defendant’s health problems would mean any prison sentence would be particularly difficult for him.

PC Mark Nicholson, of Halifax CID, leading the investigation, said: “We welcome the lengthy prison sentence which has been handed down to Winchurch today for the abhorrent crimes he committed decades ago.

“He is a predatory and depraved individual and I would like to praise the victims for their bravery and courage in coming forward and I hope that his conviction and sentencing helps to bring them some closure to them so they can move forward with their lives.

“Anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse should feel confident in coming forward to the police. We have specialist teams of officers who will take your seriously, deal with you sensitively and do everything within our power to bring those responsible to justice.”