Child murderer Sidney Cooke, 96, LOSES latest bid for freedom

EXCLUSIVE Paedophile child murderer Sidney Cooke, 96, LOSES latest bid for freedom after parole chiefs rule he still presents ‘a very high risk of serious harm to children’

  • Sidney Cooke and his gang are accused of killing 17 boys in the 1970s and 80s 
  • The 96-year-old child killer still poses a ‘very high risk,’ the parole board said 

Britain’s most notorious paedophile Sidney Cooke has failed in his latest attempt to be freed from jail at the age of 96 after the Parole Board decided he still presents ‘a very high risk of serious harm to children.’

The horrific sex offender and child killer was told today that his appeal to be released on licence has been rejected and he would also not be moved to an open jail.

The decision to keep Cooke behind bars means the killer of 14-year-old Jason Swift will spend at least a further two-years in jail – making him one of the UK’s oldest prisoners.

His latest failed request for release – his 11th such request in total since becoming eligible for parole in 2004 – means he will remain in a Category A prison under strict security measures.

In a damning summary of Cooke’s continuing danger to society, the Parole Board was told by psychiatrists and others who worked with him in prison that they could not recommend his release.

Sidney Cooke, 96, (pictured) will remain in jail after the Parole Board decided he still presents ‘a very high risk of serious harm to children’

The written summary of the Parole Board’s decision, seen by MailOnline, states: ‘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.

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

The summary continues: ‘The panel examined the release plan provided by Mr Cooke’s probation officer and weighed its proposals against assessed risks.

‘The plan included a requirement to reside in designated accommodation as well as strict limitations on Mr Cooke’s contacts, movements and activities.

‘The panel concluded this plan was not robust enough to manage Mr Cooke in the community.’

The panel concluded: ‘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.

‘He will be eligible for another parole review in due course.’

Sidney Cooke was convicted of manslaughter in 1989 over the death of 14-year-old Jason Swift (pictured) in 1985

The three-person parole panel was told that Cooke had undertaken some accredited programmes to address his sexual offending but he had not completed all the courses.

Cooke, from Hackney, east London, will remain in maximum security jail Wakefield Prison, West Yorkshire, despite having completed his minimum term 19 years ago.

He was convicted of manslaughter in 1989 over the death of 14-year-old Jason Swift.

Leslie Bailey, Robert Oliver and Steven Barrell were also jailed in 1989 for Jason’s manslaughter.

Cooke was also named in court as the leader of a paedophile ring, which was linked to the death of Mark Tildesley, seven, who went missing in 1984. His remains have never been found.

Cooke and his gang are suspected of the abduction and killing of 17 boys in the 70s and 80s. Many of these remain unsolved.

Nicknamed ‘Hissing Sid’, Cooke’s gang was known as the ‘Dirty Dozen’.

Operating from a flat on the Kingsmead estate in Hackney, east London, the gang hired rent boys or snatched children off the streets and subjected them to sexual torture.

Cooke travelled the country preying on vulnerable youngsters, setting up his children’s Test Your Strength machine in fairgrounds and using this as an opportunity to lure boys before drugging them and subjecting them to brutal assaults

Leslie Bailey (pictured) was jailed alongside Sidney Cooke in 1989 before he was murdered in his prison cell in 1993

Cooke was released from jail in April 1999, after serving nine years for the manslaughter of teenager Jason Swift in 1985.

After his release he was immediately taken into voluntary custody for his own safety.  However detectives, convinced he was responsible for other similar unsolved crimes, kept his file open.

Within months Cooke was accused of abusing two teenage brothers he befriended while working on fairgrounds more than 30 years ago. He was also accused of the rape of a young woman.

In an unexpected move during his 1999 trial at Manchester Crown Court, Cooke suddenly changed his plea to guilty and admitted ten offences against the youngsters and subsequently received two life sentences.

Four charges of rape, a further three of indecent assault and one of buggery were left on the court file.

Cooke has been linked to some of the most horrific child sex murders in the last 50-years through his association with Dirty Dozen members Leslie Bailey, Robert Oliver and Steven Barrell.

Bailey was convicted in 1992 of the manslaughter of seven-year-old Mark Tildesley who was raped in Cooke’s caravan while visiting a fairground near Wokingham, Berkshire, in 1984.

Bailey was also convicted of the murder of Barry Lewis, six, who was abducted in June 1991 before being sexually abused by up to eight men.

Robert Oliver (pictured) was jailed for the manslaughter of 14-year-old Jason Swift alongside Sidney Cooke, Leslie Bailey, and Steven Barrell

Cooke is still in jail. Bailey was murdered in his prison cell in 1993 and Oliver was last reported to be living in a bail hostel in Guildford, Surrey. The whereabouts of Barrell are unknown.

In March, Ex-detective David Bright, who got Cooke to confess to the murder of Jason Swift, urged officers to quiz Cooke over unsolved murders before he died.

Mr Bright, who does not believe Cooke should be freed from prison, claims Cooke’s age could prompt him to ‘clear his conscience’.

‘There are other children in graves hidden around the country that could have been the result of Cooke and his former cronies,’ Mr Bright, a former Essex Police officer told The Mirror.

‘At 96 and with all but two gang members dead, he might want to clear his conscience and tell all’.

A spokesperson for the Parole Board stated: ‘We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board refused the release of Sidney Cooke following an oral hearing. The panel also refused to recommend a move to open prison.

‘Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.’

Source: Read Full Article