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A 42-year-old man from Doncaster has been handed a 36 year sentence for a string of child sex offences.
Michael France of Sandyfields View, Skellow, Doncaster appeared at Sheffield Crown Court on 14 April 2022 and was found guilty of a total of 14 charges against two victims – two charges of sexual assault of a child under 13 against the first victim, one charge of indecent assault, five counts of rape of an under 13 and six counts of rape against the second victim. He was told he would spend a minimum of 31 years in custody, with an extended 5 years on licence. Alongside the lengthy sentence, he has to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life and has been made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Due to the fact the offences took place across North and South Yorkshire and the Humberside area, a joint investigation by South Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Police was mounted in 2019 when the first victim bravely came forward and reported the horrific abuse they had been subjected to by France.
As the investigation developed a second victim was found by North Yorkshire Police, who reported to police that France had also sexually abused them when they were a child.
Speaking about the sentence handed to France, the officer in charge of the North Yorkshire Police investigation, Detective Sergeant David Adams said:
“This case has been one of the most impactive and disturbing cases of sexual abuse that I have ever encountered. I have great respect for the bravery of both of the victims in this case. They have been so strong and determined throughout investigation, trial and giving their evidence to the court. Having to relive the horrific sexual abuse that France subjected them to as children must be one of the hardest things they have ever had to do, and they have done it with dignity. I am incredibly grateful to both of them for their strength and determination throughout the investigation and trial, as their evidence has put France firmly behind bars and undoubtably has saved future victims from his sexual offending.
“As the very lengthy prison sentence reflects – Michael France is a predatory and depraved man. He has shown no remorse for his behaviour at any point through the process. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges, meaning his victims had to sit through a lengthy and painful trial where they had to give evidence against their abuser. I just hope that now he has been put behind bars for a very long time, the victims have the space to find closure on an awful period in their lives and move forward to more positive times.”
Temporary Detective Sergeant Melissa Green, an Evidential Review Officer for South Yorkshire Police said:
“Throughout the trial Michael France maintained his innocence, denying the allegations and stating they had never happened. Ultimately, he was implying his victims were lying.
“The complainants in this case were children at the time of the offences, one of them now being an adult, who had come forward to police to report historical abuse against them by Michael France between the ages of five and 18 years of age. Their bravery in doing so has led to him now finally facing time behind bars.
“We commend these victims for doing so, and helping bring him to justice before a court. We hope that this helps them find some closure, and we urge all victims to come to us with their cases so that we may be able to help them too.”
If you are a victim of sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse is a foremost priority for North Yorkshire Police and all reports will be fully investigated.
If you are a victim of a sexual offence, it doesn’t matter when the abuse happened, whether it’s happening now or occurred 50 years ago. Even if it is not possible to put an offender before the courts, it’s important that you are offered the support and advice that is available.
Your information could also help to protect other victims and help the police form a wider picture of offending.
North Yorkshire Police appreciates that telling the police what has happened takes courage. It is not easy reliving such distressing situations. We understand this and have specially trained officers who will guide you through the process as well as signposting you to other agencies who can help you.
To report a sexual crime to the police call 101.
If you are in immediate danger, always call 999
If you prefer not to go direct to the police and you are not in immediate danger, you can contact a sexual assault referral centre (SARC) in your area. Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s SARC can be contacted on 01904 669339.
Childline 24-hour helpline 0800 1111
NSPCC’s online safety helpline on 0800 800 5002
If you are worried about a child, call the NSPCC’s helpline: 0800 800 5000
Please do not suffer alone, if you have been abused, please report it.