Barnsley rapist jailed after 'worst case' of sex abuse police officer has ever dealt with

Michael Cavanagh Credit: West Yorkshire Police

A man from Barnsley who caused "unimaginable suffering" to a woman and child has been jailed for more than two decades.

Michael Cavanagh, 69, of Doncaster Road in Barnsley, was charged with four counts of sexual offences including rape, indecent assault of a child and rape of a child.

Both victims separately reported they had been abused by Cavanagh during the 1990's.

This prompted an investigation by Leeds Safeguarding Unit and he was arrested and questioned by detectives.

He was later charged with multiple offences and stood trial at Leeds Crown Court where he was found guilty of four offences by a jury.

Cavanagh appeared at Leeds Crown Court and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

He was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

Commenting on the sentencing, Detective Constable Helen McDonnell of Leeds District Safeguarding Unit, said:

“I am delighted with the result and the sentence imposed on Michael Cavanagh. For 30 years, his two victims have had to live with the horrific abuse inflicted upon them by this man.

“He caused them unimaginable suffering which changed their lives forever, and theirs is the worst case I have dealt with in 17 years of Policing.

“Their bravery in coming forward to report this man and give evidence in this case is extraordinary, and I am so pleased that they now have justice after such a long ordeal.

“We would always encourage any victim of unreported sexual offences whether recent or non-recent to come forward and contact police. We handle all reports with sensitivity and thoroughly investigate all enquiries to bring perpetrators of these awful crimes to justice.”

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