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Peter Pickering 'The Beast of Wombell' found guilty of raping woman in 1972

Eighty-year-old Peter Pickering was convicted by a jury after a week long trial at Leeds Crown. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

A man who became known as the 'Beast of Wombwell' has been found guilty of abducting and raping a woman 46 years ago.

Eighty-year-old Peter Pickering was convicted by a jury after a week-long trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Pickering raped and killed 14-year-old Shirley Boldy in Barnsley in 1972. He has been detained under a hospital order since then.

His latest conviction is for an attack on an 18-year-old woman just weeks before he killed Miss Boldy.

The woman, now in her 60s, gave evidence against Pickering at his trial.

Pickering, who declined to give evidence, was found guilty by a jury after two hours of deliberations.

The judge, Mr Justice Goss, said he would not sentence Pickering on Tuesday, because he needed new reports on his mental state to be prepared.

The judge told Pickering, who appeared by video-link and was seen leaning on a walking stick, that he would be subject to his continuing hospital order until he is sentenced at a date to be fixed.

Pickering's barrister, Sasha Wass QC, asked the judge if her client could be sentenced in Reading or Swindon Crown Court - nearer to where he is being held at a hospital in Berkshire.

Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen, Senior Investigating Officer in the case, said: “We are delighted he has been brought to justice today for an offence he committed more than 46 years ago.

“His victim has had to live a lifetime of knowing that Pickering, while not at large, had not answered for the dreadful and terrifying ordeal he put her through on that evening.”

He added: “Pickering was convicted following a methodical police investigation which saw us locate and examine lock-up units he rented in which we found significant amounts of material related to this case.

“This material proved to be a key factor in helping officers identify and contact his victim to begin the process of both investigating this offence and seeking the justice she has been entitled to for many years.

“I hope that the conviction of Pickering will be of some comfort to the victim who has lived with the impact of his crime for the majority of her life.”