Eleven years jail for Sowerby Bridge rapist

Bradford Crown Court
Bradford Crown Court

A 65-year-old man has been jailed for 11 years after he gave money to a vulnerable teenager who was sexually abused and raped by him.

A judge heard today (Wednesday) how the youngster, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, spent the cash on more cannabis and alcohol to “block out” the abuse she endured at the hands of Michael Rhodes.

Rhodes was arrested at a farm in Sowerby Bridge after his victim finally revealed details of the abuse she had suffered about a decade earlier.

Last month when Rhodes’ case was listed for trial at Bradford Crown Court he entered guilty pleas to three offences of indecent assault and one of rape.

Prosecutor Sophie Drake told the crown court how Rhodes raped the girl when she was 16 and left £150 under her pillow.

Miss Drake said the abuse began after Rhodes told the 14-year-old he would give her some money if she let him touch her breasts.

She said the teenager refused, but Rhodes touched her under her clothing anyway and also kissed and licked her breasts.

The court heard that Rhodes told the girl she was beautiful and gave her £20.

Miss Drake said the teenager used the money to buy cannabis so she could forget what had happened.

She said the complainant told police that she began drinking more regularly and smoking cannabis to block out what was happening to her.

The rape offence took place after Rhodes told the teenager he would give her more money if she let him do more to her.

Miss Drake said the girl was saying no throughout, but after committing the rape Rhodes left £150 under her pillow.

When Rhodes was arrested in Sowerby Bridge in July 2012 officers found a floppy disc containing almost 30 indecent images of children and in December last year he admitted possessing the child porn.

Barrister Camille Morland, for Rhodes, said he had been in care and had had “a very difficult upbringing”.

“He should not have offended in the way that he has and now at effectively retirement age he has to face up to those offences,” said Miss Morland.

She said it was not accepted that the complainant’s use of cannabis and alcohol began as a consequence of Rhodes’ conduct and he was now regretful and remorseful for his offending.

The Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC imposed an indefinite sexual offences prevention order on Rhodes which bans unsupervised contact with children and he also told the defendant that he would have to register as a sex offender with the police for the rest of his life.

The judge said the offences reflected something “very dark and nasty” about Rhodes’ life which had only now come to light.

He said Rhodes, who used to live in the Pudsey area, had become sexually attracted to the teenager at a time when she was pushing the boundaries of her behaviour like many adolescents.

Judge Thomas said the offending had been committed against a “vulnerable individual” and it was a serious case of its sort.

Rhodes, who had no relevant previous convictions, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years for the rape offence with an additional two-and-a-half years in prison for the indecent assault matters.

The possession of child porn offences were dealt with by way of a concurrent prison sentence of six months.