A KIRKLEES man has been jailed for more than 49 years for decades of sexual offending against women and children.

Leslie Terrence Housecroft, 73, from North Kirklees was jailed at Leeds Crown Court today after being found guilty of 14 sexual offences, including rape, against two women and three children in the Kirklees District between 1993 and 2016.

Of the 49-and-a-half years imposed, 26 of them were consecutive terms to be served in prison with a further 23-and-a-half years which will run concurrently alongside the 26-year custodial period.

He has been branded as a serial sexual predator by Kirklees safeguarding detectives who welcomed his sentencing.

The 73-year-old was convicted by jury following a two-week trial at Leeds Crown Court in March.

He was found guilty of six offences of raping a child, two indecent assaults on a child, a sexual assault on a child, an offence of rape against a woman and four sexual assaults against a woman.

Housecroft was also subject to a sexual harm prevention order and placed on the sex offenders register for life.

He was first reported to Kirklees Police in January 2018, sparking a full police investigation which uncovered more offending.

Acting Detective Sergeant Yvonne Brear of the Kirklees District Safeguarding Unit, who led the investigation, said: “Leslie Housecroft is without doubt a dangerous serial sexual predator who committed some of the most serious sexual offences against victims over a three decade period.

“Rather than admit his guilt, he chose to put those victims through the ordeal of a trial and we welcome the strong sentence imposed on him today.

“I wish to commend the bravery of those victims who came forward and supported both the police investigation and then the prosecution to ensure this man was taken out of our communities.

“We are committed to achieving justice for victims of sexual offending, no matter when those offences took place, and can promise their needs are at the heart of every investigation.”