A pensioner who sexually abused two young girls during the 1970s and fled court on the first day of his trial was today behind bars after justice finally caught up with him.
Terrance O’Donnell, aged 70, of Mawfa Walk, Gleadless, Sheffield, was jailed for five years and a month after he admitted one count of attempted rape and seven counts of indecent assault against two victims.
O’Donnell fled court on the first day of his trial, forcing one of his victims to give evidence to the jury but days later handed himself in and admitted the charges.
The court heard most of the allegations related to a girl who was aged between eight and 12 who O’Donnell sexually abused during the 1970s.
He attempted to rape her when she was under 15, but she managed to resist his advances.
The second victim was recuperating from a car accident and was just 12 when O’Donnell sexually assaulted her, the court heard.
The judge, Mr Recorder Bennett, said O’Donnell’s offending had a huge impact on one of his victims who was unable to be tactile with her own children as an adult. She turned to drink to blot out the attacks and had also made attempts to end her life, the court heard.
The judge said O’Donnell was a convicted sex offender who was jailed for four months after being found guilty of similar offences in 1983.
The offences came to light when they were reported to the police in October 2012 and O’Donnell was arrested.
Following a lengthy investigation, he was charged in January this year.
The judge said that, following current guidelines, the maximum sentence for someone convicted of attempted rape was life.
But he had to using sentencing guidelines in place at the time the offences were committed.
He jailed O’Donnell for five years for the sex attacks, and a month for failing to surrender to custody.
Afterwards Detective Constable David Wilson, who led the investigation, said: “O’Donnell continually denied his offending throughout the investigation.
“Due to the years that passed between the offences occurring and them coming to the attention of the police, I am sure he thought he had got away with it.
“O’Donnell’s past offending has now caught up with him and I hope this brings some comfort and closure to the victims.
“The bravery and dignity they have shown is truly commendable, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their courage.”