Pensioner jailed for 24 years for sexual assaults

John Smales, who was jailed for 24 years for sexual assaults over three decades.
John Smales, who was jailed for 24 years for sexual assaults over three decades.

A Wakefield pensioner has been jailed for 24 years for a catalogue of sexual crimes he committed across three decades.

John Smales, 72, of Duke of York Avenue, pleaded guilty and was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court for 15 counts of sexual assault.

The offences were committed against two girls in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and were reported to the police in March and May this year.

Det Insp Vanessa Rolfe, of Wakefield Child Safeguarding Team, said: “Both victims have made their first disclosures to the police as adults but gave evidence about the huge impact that these offences had on their childhood and throughout their adult lives so far.

“They have shown immense courage and bravery in coming forward to report these crimes and I hope that the conclusion of this case can provide them with some form of closure.

“The first victim actually came forward after watching a film on BBC Crimewatch in which a man talked about historic abuse and encouraged people to report it.

“I hope that the significant sentence that Smales has been given demonstrates how seriously the police and courts take such reports.

“It also shows that we will investigate regardless of any passage of time.

“West Yorkshire Police takes all allegations of sexual offences extremely seriously and has dedicated, specialist safeguarding officers who are fully trained in investigating both current and historic reports.

“We would urge anyone who has been a victim of a sexual offence to please come forward so that we can ensure that they are provided with appropriate support.”

It comes after another rapist, Robert Jarrett, 50, of Longworth Road, Hemsworth, was recently jailed for 15 years for historic crimes against two girls in Hemsworth and Fitzwilliam.

His victims were aged between eight and 11 and the crimes dated back to 2004.