Police have thanked the victims of a South Yorkshire rapist who preyed on schoolgirls for more than 20 years for giving in evidence in court and helping to put him behind bars.
Lee Crutchley was found guilty of two counts of rape and two charges of assault by penetration on one vulnerable girl, as well as seven charges of indecent assault and one of buggery in connection with three other schoolgirls.
He was sentenced to 15 years in jail at Sheffield Crown Court earlier following a trial that lasted more than a fortnight.
DC Dave Wilson, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “I want to thank all the victims and witnesses who assisted in this complex investigation.
“In this case, the abuse of some of the victims was over a prolonged period of time and I’m glad they can see justice has been served.
“I hope the guilty verdicts will serve as some small comfort to the victims who have effectively suffered twice - both when they were sexually abused by Crutchley and again when giving their evidence in court when they had to relive their horrendous experiences.
“These victims showed great bravery in coming forward and I would urge all in their position to also report such crimes to the police so we can deal with them and bring offenders like Crutchley to justice.”
Crutchley, of Victoria Street, Dinnington, Rotherham, had been charged with 16 offences in total that were said to have occurred between November 1990 and June 2012.
But he was cleared of two counts of sexual intercourse with a girl aged under 13 and two of indecent assault.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of producing thousands of pounds worth of cannabis at his home prior to his trial.