A 79-year-old York man has been jailed for 17 years for inflicting ‘terrible sexual abuse’ on four children.
John Anthony Whitehead, known as Tony, of Kexby Avenue was sentenced at York Crown Court.
His four victims were aged between four and nine at the time of the abuse in the 1980s and 90s.
He was charged with 20 offences including:
- four charges of gross indecency with a boy under 14
- ten charges of indecent assault on a girl under 14
- four charges of indecent assault on a boy
- one charge of gross indecency with a girl under 14
- and one charge of inciting a girl under 14 to commit an act of gross indecency.
Whitehead initially pleaded not guilty and stood trial on 8 February. However, when he presented with one victim’s testimony, he changed all of his pleas to guilty.
‘Never too late’
Today police praised his victims for their bravery in coming forward.
Detective Inspector Jackie Smart, of York CID said: “The bravery of these victims cannot be overestimated, nor can the impact the abuse has had on their lives.
“They have stuck with what was a long and difficult investigation over the past three years to see Whitehead brought to justice.
“Nothing can take away the affect the abuse had on their lives and the distress it has caused them over the years.
“But I hope the sentence handed out to Whitehead brings some closure for them and that they can now put it behind them knowing that he is now behind bars for the terrible abuse he inflicted on them.”
Whitehead’s sentence sentence is made up of 11 years imprisonment – and a special custodial sentence of seven years.
Det Insp Smart said the conviction sent a strong message to victims.
“The first victim to come forward did so after seeing a newspaper article about another jailed sex offender and a comment from North Yorkshire Police that it is never too late to report sexual abuse.
“That is absolutely the case, and I hope other victims of abuse who are reading this are reassured by this and that they do come forward and report what has happened to them.”