Child rapist handed 25 years' jail after lengthy investigation by Leeds police

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A man has been jailed for 25 for historic sexual offences against a woman and child, following a lengthy investigation by Leeds police.

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

The offences dated back to the 1990s and both victims came forward and reported Cavanagh’s offending separately in 2019. An investigation was launched by Leeds Safeguarding Unit and he was arrested and questioned by detectives.

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He was later charged with multiple offences and stood trial and was found guilty of four offences by a jury.

Cavanagh was jailed for 25 years at Leeds Crown Court. (pic by National World / WYP)Cavanagh was jailed for 25 years at Leeds Crown Court. (pic by National World / WYP)
Cavanagh was jailed for 25 years at Leeds Crown Court. (pic by National World / WYP)

Cavanagh, of Doncaster Road in Barnsley, recently appeared again at Leeds Crown Court and was handed the lengthy sentence. He was also given a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) and will sign the sex offender register for life.

Speaking after 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.

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“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.”