A DANGEROUS sex offender who abused girls with disabilities has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Matthew Wood (24), of Buckleigh Road, Wath, appeared at Manchester Crown Court yesterday (Thursday) for sentencing after admitting 15 sexual offences against five women and girls.
Wood will also serve an extended eight years on licence after he was deemed by the judge to be a dangerous sex offender.
Wood admitted seven counts of rape, four counts of sexual activity with a child, three counts of sexual assault and one count of common assault.
He also admitted possessing and distributing indecent images of children.
His victims were from Rotherham and Doncaster and aged between 15 and 24-years-old when the offences took place.
The investigation into Wood began in 2015 when South Yorkshire Police were informed he had been accessing indecent images of children.
Police said it then became clear Wood had sexually abused a number of people and his victims – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – were traced.
He was charged in March this year.
Det Con Richard Howe, investigating officer, from South Yorkshire Police said: “Wood preyed on vulnerable teenage girls and women for his own sexual gratification - a truly despicable crime.
“A number of his victims suffer from disabilities as well, making his exploitation of them even more appalling and cruel.
“I’m pleased he entered guilty pleas and spared the victims the further distressing experience of having to attend a trial to give evidence, but this does not lessen the significant impact this abuse has had on his victims’ lives.
“I hope that the sentence passed down is of some comfort to them, knowing he is behind bars where he can cause no further harm.
“I want to thank the victims for coming forward to report this crime to police and for their courage throughout our investigation.”
Rotherham Council leader Chris Read also said: “It is great news that this man is now behind bars where he can no longer inflict harm and misery as has done already done on his many victims.
“Both police and social care staff worked closely with the victims to help secure this conviction.
“Once again it shows the increasing strength and effectiveness of our partnership working across Rotherham in tackling child sexual exploitation and abuse.”
You can report concerns for a child by calling police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
You can also call or text the national child sexual exploitation helpline Say Something on 116 000.