28 October 2021

Paedophile and child killer Sidney Cooke fails again in bid to be freed

28 October 2021

One of Britain’s most notorious paedophiles has failed in a bid to be freed from jail for the 10th time.

Child killer Sidney Cooke 94, is one of the oldest prisoners to come before the Parole Board in recent years.

His latest request for release was rejected on Thursday.

When he was jailed for life with a minimum term of five years in 1999, a judge described Cooke – who is also known by the surname Lomas – as a paedophile “of the highest level of risk” and his victims said they hoped he would die behind bars.

Then 72, he had admitted a campaign of abuse against two brothers in the 1970s which began when they were just 13 and spanned five years.

His behaviour in prison had been mixed and had provoked concerns and even allegations over the years

Prior to that he had served nine years for the 1984 killing of 14-year-old Jason Swift.

He has also been linked to the unsolved murder of seven-year-old Mark Tildesley, who disappeared in 1984 after visiting a funfair near his home in Wokingham, Berkshire, and is suspected of being involved in the kidnap and murder of six-year-old Barry Lewis.

Nicknamed “Hissing Sid”, Cooke was one of a 1980s gang known as a “Dirty Dozen” suspected of being responsible for the killing of up to nine young boys during sex orgies.

Operating from a flat on the Kingsmead estate in Hackney, east London, the gang hired rent boys or snatched children off the streets and subjected them to sexual torture.

Cooke travelled the country preying on vulnerable youngsters, setting up his children’s Test Your Strength machine in fairgrounds and using this as an opportunity to lure boys before drugging them and subjecting them to brutal assaults.

Sidney Cooke (PA) (PA Archive)

The Parole Board said: “After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the other evidence presented … the panel was not satisfied that Mr Cooke was suitable for release … nor did the panel recommend to the Secretary of State that Mr Cooke should be transferred to open prison.”

The document detailing the decision described Cooke, at the time of his offending, as having “manipulative and controlling behaviour for his own gratification” and believing he could have sex “as and when he wanted”.

It added: “His behaviour in prison had been mixed and had provoked concerns and even allegations over the years.”

He will be eligible for another parole review in about two years’ time.

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