A former soldier who committed a catalogue of horrifying sex offences against children over a 33 year period has been jailed for 20 years.
Leeds Crown Court heard on Friday Colin Haddlesey’s offending began in the 1960s and ended with raping a teenage girl in the late 1990s but only came to light earlier this year after two of his victims spoke together.
That was the first time each realised they were not alone in being abused by him and he was reported to the police.
Others then came forward to say they too had been abused, some when he was a soldier home on leave.
One boy said he was taken out in a car and forced at gunpoint to perform a sex act and told if he did not he would be shot and put in a nearby canal.
Sharon Beattie, prosecuting, said when Haddlesey was arrested in September he had got rid of any guns.
Haddlesey, 63 of Fisher Way, Heckmondwike, admitted three offences of rape, one of possessing an imitation firearm with intent and 21 other sex offences on seven children and one adult.
Sentencing, Judge Tom Bayliss QC said he accepted Haddlesey was only a teenager himself when the offending began but as he grew older he had continued to commit sexual crimes with increasing depravity on defenceless and vulnerable children.
He said: “You threatened them into committing gross acts and you threatened them into silence.”
Some he corrupted after plying them with drink. In one such case a boy’s parents thought Haddlesey was taking him to the Bradford speedway with other children.
Others were shown pornographic films before Haddlesey abused them.
“The impact on your victims is in many respects incalculable,” said Judge Bayliss.
He said had it not been for Haddlesey’s guilty pleas and poor health he would have considered imposing a life or extended sentence on him.
Miss Beattie told the court when Haddlesey was arrested he denied any offences. He was bailed and then went missing from home and it was feared he might be intending to commit suicide but he turned up a week later.
Michael Collins, mitigating, said his guilty pleas reflected ‘his true remorse’.
He said Haddlesey was suffering from a form of Parkinson’s disease and wanted to offer his ‘heartfelt apologies to the victims and their families’.
Det Cons Nikki Askew, of Kirklees Child Safegurding Unit, said: “Colin Haddlesey has received a very substantial sentence that reflects the sexual abuse and emotional damage he has caused over several decades to many people.
“These victims found the strength to come forward and I hope the outcome provides part closure to an horrendous chapter in their lives.
“This enquiry was a product of an intense investigation that following its report that brought Haddlesey to justice.
“His conviction has shown that people who abused children in the past can still be brought to justice and if convicted they will be sentenced accordingly.”