A man has been sentenced to more than twenty years in prison for historical sexual offences against a woman and a child.

Michael Cavanagh, aged 69, residing on Doncaster Road in Barnsley, has been convicted of four counts of sexual offences, which include rape, indecent assault of a child, and child rape.

The incidents took place in the 1990s, and both of the victims independently came forward in 2019 to report Cavanagh’s actions. Following their reports, the Leeds Safeguarding Unit initiated an investigation, leading to Cavanagh’s arrest and subsequent questioning by detectives.

Subsequently, he faced multiple charges and underwent a trial at Leeds Crown Court, where a jury found him guilty on all four counts.

On Thursday, 17 August, Cavanagh appeared before Leeds Crown Court to receive his sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment. In addition, he has been issued a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

Commenting on the sentencing, Detective Constable Helen McDonnell of Leeds District Safeguarding Unit, said; “I am delighted with the result and the sentence imposed on Michael Cavanagh. For 30 years, his two victims have had to live with the horrific abuse inflicted upon them by this man.

“He caused them unimaginable suffering which changed their lives forever, and theirs is the worst case I have dealt with in 17 years of Policing.

“Their bravery in coming forward to report this man and give evidence in this case is extraordinary, and I am so pleased that they now have justice after such a long ordeal.

“We would always encourage any victim of unreported sexual offences whether recent or non-recent to come forward and contact police. We handle all reports with sensitivity and thoroughly investigate all enquiries to bring perpetrators of these awful crimes to justice.”