Leeds & West Yorkshire

Wakefield man jailed for sexually assaulting teenager

Alan Higgins Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Alan Higgins has been jailed for a minimum of 11 and a half years

A man described as "a parent's worst nightmare" has been jailed for sexually assaulting a vulnerable girl in hotels.

Alan Higgins, 61, made contact with the teenager on social media and groomed her before travelling to another county to meet her.

He admitted sexually assaulting the girl and was found guilty of raping a different woman.

Higgins was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court to life in prison, with a minimum term of 11 and a half years.

His adult victim said in a statement it would "keep a very dangerous man locked away for the safety of other women".

During a trial between December and January, Higgins, of Wakefield, pleaded guilty to nine counts of sexual assault against a then 13-year-old girl and possession of indecent images.

He also admitted grooming and a slavery offence of facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation.

During criminal proceedings police realised he had committed previous offences against an adult female between 2005 and 2007.

On Tuesday, he was found guilty of four counts of rape and he was sentenced for all of the offences at the same time.

West Yorkshire Police said officers uncovered evidence of Higgins' offending while searching for indecent images at his home in February 2016.

Higgins had made contact with his young victim via social media and groomed her before travelling to another county to meet her.

He then sexually abused her in hotels and other premises across the UK.

Det Ch Insp Steve Greenbank described Higgins as "a highly dangerous individual" and said he wanted "to praise the exceptional courage of both of his victims in supporting the prosecutions".

"It is no exaggeration to say Higgins is very much a parent's worst nightmare," he added.

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