26 years for '˜sadistic' rapist who targeted three Wakefield women

A repeat sex offender has been jailed for 26 years for a series of serious sexual assaults in Wakefield involving three women.

Craig Howell, 38, of Assembly Lane, Normanton, formerly of Eastmoor, Wakefield, was sentenced to 26 years in prison at Leeds Crown Court after being convicted of three rape offences.

He will spend six years of the sentence on police licence.

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His convictions relate to offences which took place over a six-year period between 2009-2015 against three women from the Wakefield area.

Howell engaged in the “degradation” of one victim in particular for his own “sadistic” pleasure, Judge Kearl QC said.

In court he pleaded guilty to three offences of actual bodily harm, two rapes, false imprisonment and making threats to kill against one woman in 2009.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of causing actual bodily harm and one of unlawful wounding of a second woman in 2013.

In addition, he pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm against a third woman. He was also found guilty of another count of causing actual bodily harm and one of rape, against the same woman - all in 2015.

The offences came to light after the third victim told police last July that she had been seriously sexually assaulted by Howell.

He was arrested shortly afterwards in Normanton by police, and as enquiries continued further offences and victims were uncovered.

Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Tim Hunt of Wakefield District CID, said: “Howell is a truly dangerous sex offender who was branded sadistic in court as a result of his crimes.

“These offences came to light after one of his victims had the courage to come forwards and contact the police, leading us to arrest Howell and conduct further investigations.

“I wish to praise the bravery of all of these women who all made disclosures about the terrible and indeed, terrifying abuse they suffered. I also want to commend the work of colleagues who conducted a thorough and meticulous investigation which helped secure Howell’s conviction.

“We can assure all victims of sexual and physical abuse that their complaints will be investigated thoroughly and reports will always be treated with discretion and sympathy.”

He added: “Howell will now spend many years behind bars for his offending and I have no hesitation in saying our streets are safer with him in prison.”