Police appeal for further victims of dangerous paedophile to come forward

9:35pm Friday 9th May 2014

By Stuart Arnold

POLICE have appealed for other victims of a dangerous “sexual predator” to come forward after he was today (May 9) jailed for a series of indecent assaults more than 20 years ago.

John Sykes, already serving an indeterminate sentence for the public protection, was given a six year, nine month jail term after admitting eight charges of indecent assault.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the paedophile previously claimed to have assaulted up to 80 young boys.

He also attacked a boy in Middlesbrough in 1991 who suffered a fractured skull and was left for dead after being beaten with a brick.

The boy told police how he was sexually assaulted by Sykes, taken from his home and then viciously assaulted to prevent him telling anybody what had happened.

Although Sykes was charged with attempted murder and sexual assault, those charges were dropped and he was later jailed for four years after admitting causing grievous bodily harm.

Prosecutor Peter Makepeace said the decision to accept that plea “was difficult to comprehend” and that the victim of the indecent assaults had given a statement in which he recounted a full admission made to him by Sykes over the earlier attack and described how he had threatened to do the same to him.

Sykes, 50, who resides in HMP Armley, Leeds, and had been living in Mirfield, West Yorkshire after moving away from Middlesbrough, was given an indeterminate sentence in June 2012 after breaching a sexual offences prevention order imposed on him five years earlier and admitting two offences of sexual activity with a child.

Mr Makepeace said Sykes' latest victim only disclosed his abuse last year after attending anger management sessions.

He said the defendant would buy him presents in order to win his trust with the pair committing sex acts on each other, while Sykes also fondled and kissed the victim.

Mr Makepeace said: “He was petrified. He felt unable to complain because he feared the accused would assault him or his family.”

Sykes was branded a dangerous individual by the Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, who also remarked on his “complete indifference”.

Jailing him, he said: “You are a sexual predator of young boys, you groom them and ingratiate yourselves with their family and you do that out of our lust to try and defile them.”

The father of the young boy attacked in 1991, who has spent many years campaigning over his son's case, swore at Sykes as he was led away to the cells.

Meanwhile, the victim of the indecent assaults spoke outside of the courtroom and said: “He [Sykes] has ruined my life and my kids have not had the childhood they deserve.

“I have got over the physical abuse I suffered, but it is the mental abuse that never goes away.”

Detective Sergeant Dave Smith, of Cleveland police, said he was certain Sykes had committed other offences in an intervening period from the 1990s up to 2012.

He said: “I would ask that anyone who thinks they have been a victim of his contact me directly on Cleveland police's 101 number.”

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