Dalkeith sex offender jailed for six years

High Court, Edinburgh
High Court, Edinburgh

A 70-year-old sex offender was jailed for six years yesterday (Tuesday) for raping a teenage girl, after a judge rejected a social worker’s suggestion of a non-custodial disposal as “totally inappropriate”.

Paul Cooke was earlier convicted of repeatedly raping the girl when she was aged 16 or 17 and carrying out sex assaults on two other teenagers.

Paul Cooke

Paul Cooke

Sentence was deferred on Cooke until yesterday for the preparation of a background report on him by a social worker.

Lord Boyd of Duncansby said that “remarkably” it advised that a community payback order with a supervision requirement could be considered as a direct alternative to imprisonment.

The judge said at the High Court in Edinburgh that a non-custodial sentence for the rape of a teenager was “not a serious option”.

He said: “It seems to be totally inappropriate for the rape of a teenage girl.”

The judge told Cooke: “She was young enough to be your granddaughter. It appeared to me you became obsessed by her.” He said there had been an element of Cooke grooming the girl for sex.

He told him: “The fact is during a period of 15 months you sexually assaulted three teenage girls.”

Lord Boyd told Cooke, formerly of East Langside Drive, Dalkeith, that he would be placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

Cooke had earlier denied a string of charges but was found guilty of sexually assaulting one girl and raping her and sexually assaulting two others.

In 2016 he touched one victim’s leg when out in a car in Midlothian and on various occasions between June that year and March last year he grabbed hold of a second girl when she was aged 13 and 14 and tried to kiss her in a car.

The third victim was also sexually assaulted in a car and in a lorry at different places in Scotland and at a house in Loanhead, when Cooke touched her leg, grabbed hold of her body and kissed her.

But on various occasions between August 2016 and March last year he also subjected her to rapes after grabbing hold of her, pulling her a bedroom and pushing her onto a bed and assaulting the struggling girl at a house in Dalkeith.

Defence counsel Shelagh McCall QC said Cooke was a first offender and added: “He appears to have had a long and constructive life prior to 2016. What has brought about this change we do not know.

The defence counsel said that he now found himself facing a prison sentence at “a fairly advanced age”. She said it would impact on his family.

She said he had previously cared for his grandchildren and still provided support.

Lord Boyd told Cooke that he took into account his age in sentencing him.