Paedophile finally caught after police repair smashed cassette of sick evidence

A sadistic paedophile who raped his victim repeatedly, sometimes on camera, was finally caught after police repaired a smashed cassette of sick evidence they discovered, a court heard.

Leonard Wood, 67, raped the child victim during historic sex abuse lasting more than a decade, the Liverpool ECHO reported.

He was found guilty of 11 counts of rape, relating to at least 35 attacks on the victim, from when she was aged 11 or 12 to a young adult, including the rape in the Category A video he shot with a tripod and camera.

Wood was also convicted of three counts of indecently assaulting her, on at least 11 occasions in total, when she was aged 11 to 15, including an attack captured in a Category B video.

Years later, the now-adult woman went to the police and reported her ordeal, leading to the pensioner's arrest.

Wood, who claimed they'd once had consensual sex, denied any sexual activity between them when she was underage.

But a search of his home revealed camcorder cassettes in the loft – including one that appeared to have been destroyed.

And when a detective managed to repair the old cassette, it showed Wood had filmed himself raping and molesting the child.

He then denied 12 counts of rape and six counts of indecent assault, which forced his victim to go through the ordeal of giving evidence.

Before the harrowing trial began, Wood admitted two counts of making indecent photographs of a child.

They related to two recordings on the cassette, which prosecutors said showed him raping and indecently assaulting the girl.

Wood admitted making the Category A and B videos, but said they showed consensual sexual activity when the girl was 16 or 17 – having previously suggested she was 18 or over in the footage.

He denied any other wrongdoing and said everything videoed had happened on just one occasion.

David Polglase, prosecuting, told the jury different clothing worn by Wood and the girl, different lighting and different decor in the background on the two clips suggested otherwise.

The prosecutor said the victim was shown stills from the video and said she was aged between 13 and 15 when they were taken.

Mr Polglase also said in one clip, a song could be heard playing in the background – perhaps on a TV or radio – followed by adverts for a number of movies.

He said when the song was released and those films were in the cinema, the girl was only 14.

Wood told the jury it was just a coincidence that the track was released when she was 14 and said he used to record songs, then play them back, so he could learn to play them for his band.

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He claimed it had been the girl's idea to film the videos and said he didn't know how the cassette came to be smashed and secreted away in his loft.

Mr Polglase argued Wood groomed his victim and "took advantage of her youth and vulnerability".

The victim alleged the abuse began when she was only nine and said Wood told her it was "their little secret".

She described how she felt scared and didn't know what was going on, but the abuse progressively became more serious, until he started raping her.

Mr Polglase said the girl recalled how Wood started filming the abuse on a camcorder on a tripod, leaving her feeling confused and scared.

Judge Louise Brandon said Wood would be sentenced on February 7.

The judge remanded him in custody until that date.

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.

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