December 2019

Leeds rapist confronted by victim almost 50 years after he is brought to justice

A rape victim confronted her abuser in court as he was brought to justice after almost half a century.

Paul Booth was locked up for nine years after pleading guilty to a series of sex offences against two girls in Leeds in the 1970s

Booth, 59, began the sexual abuse when he was as young as 11 and continued to prey on the victims into early adulthood.

One of the victims chose to read a statement to Leeds Crown Court describing the lifetime of suffering she had endured as a result of Booth’s offending.

The woman, now aged in her fifties, said: “I feel worthless and I often feel like what is the point in carrying on with my life as my past overtakes any thoughts for the future.”

She also described how the abuse would cause her to self-harm.

She said: “I did not want to carry on living and wanted the pain to stop.

“I resorted to drinking heavily as a way of coping. This helped numb the pain.”

The victim said she continues to suffer from depression, panic attacks, anxiety and sleepless nights but hoped for a brighter future now Booth has finally been brought to justice.

She said: “I only started living once I reported this to the police – it was such a relief that the police listened to me.”

The woman also told the court how she had struggled to find the strength to give evidence before a jury after Booth took the case to a trial.

She said: “I always hoped (Booth) would hold his hands up to what he has done rather than drag me through a lengthy court case.”

Booth, of Norton Way, Morley, Leeds, was found guilty of five counts of indecent assault and two counts of rape in relation to the victim.

He was also convicted of three counts of indecent assault, one count of indecency with a child and one count of attempted rape in relation to the second female.

The court heard the attempted rape took place in the 1980s.

Louise Blackwell, mitigating, said Booth was a child when the abuse began and is now a different person.

She said his second wife stands by him despite his offences and his daughter and step-daughter believe he is not a risk to children.

The barrister said: “He has lived the best life he could have and has been a man full of integrity and hard work and has been an example to others.”

Booth, who appeared in court via a video link from Leeds prison, cried during the hearing.

Judge Rodney Jameson, QC, said Booth had caused “serious psychological damage” to both of his victims.

He said: “The affect upon them has been profound and lifelong.”