'Determined' paedophile, 61, sent 13-year-old girl a Valentine's card from prison - Leeds Crown Court

Alan Higgins.
Alan Higgins.

A ‘determined and entrenched paedophile’ who carried out a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl and repeatedly raped an adult woman has been jailed for life.

Alan Higgins, 61, of Wakefield, even tried to send a Valentine’s card to his young victim while he was being held in prison on remand for the offences against her.

On another occasion Higgins drove the girl home to her parents and pretended to be the father of her teenage boyfriend after the relationship was almost exposed.

READ MORE: ‘Every parent’s worst nightmare’ - How Alan Higgins tricked parents, probabtion service and prison authorities

Higgins has a history of violent sexual offences against females including attempted murder and kidnap.

The pervert carried out a 10-month affair with the youngster after contacting her using a fake Facebook account.

Leeds Crown Court heard the vulnerable teenager became “infatuated” with Higgins after he showered her with gifts, including jewellery, make-up and teddy bears.

READ MORE: Rapist told he is ‘beyond help’ after Leeds Crown Court hears of history of sexual violence

The pervert would often pick the girl up near her school and take her to motels across the country to have sex with her after giving her alcohol

At the time of the offences he was subject to licence conditions for grooming and sex offences against a 15 year-old girl committed in 2005.

The offending came to light when police executed a search warrant at his flat in Wakefield after receiving information that he had been accessing indecent images of children.

Higgins was arrested and taken into custody after images were found on electrical devices

The flat at St Catherine’s Villas, Belle Vue, was then cleared out and a book containing names, telephone numbers and sim cards along with a teddy bear were discovered hidden in the property.

Police managed to trace the victim using the information contained in the book. The girl initially denied any knowledge of Higgins and claimed to have been seeing a boy of her own age. She later told officers about the abuse.

Higgins pleaded guilty to nine serious sexual offences against a child, meeting a child following sexual grooming, arranging or facilitating travel following grooming and three offences of possessing indecent images of children.

Higgins was also found guilty of four offences of rape against a separate victim after a trial which ended yesterday. Jurors heard of the offences took place between 2005 and 2007.

Jailing Higgins, judge Robin Mairs said: “These are offences of deceit and manipulation.

“You were a man of almost 60. She was a 13-year-old child. There is no issue of meaningful consent that can arise in those circumstances.”

Higgins was told he must serve a minimum of 11-and-a-half years in custody before he can apply to the parole board for release.

DCI Steve Greenbank, Senior Investigating Officer in the case, said: “It is no exaggeration to say Higgins is very much every parent’s worst nightmare.”

The adult victim who was violently raped by Alan Higgins issued a statement after case describing her suffering.

She said: “For the last 11 years I have lived in the aftermath of Alan Higgins’ offending against me, and it has affected almost every aspect of my life.

“He made me feel weak and worthless and as though I in some way deserved what he did to me. I struggle mentally and physically in any number of ways and I still have little self confidence and trust in other people.

“The verdict will not only keep a very dangerous man locked away for the safety of other women, but means that I can now move on with my life knowing that I was never in the wrong.

“His offences were not my fault and that was proved by the verdict of the jury. I hope that my experience will encourage other victims to come forward.”