Murderpedia



 

Juan Ignacio Blanco

home

last updates

MALE murderers

by country

by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
   

FEMALE murderers

by country

by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

 

 

Sidney COOKE

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


A.K.A.: "Hissing Sid"
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Convicted paedophile
Number of victims: 1 +
Date of murder: November 14, 1985
Date of birth: April 18, 1927
Victim profile: Jason Swift, 14
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced for manslaughter to 19 years in prison in May 1989. Reduced to 16 years on appeal in 1989. Paroled in April 1998. On January 26, 1999, he was again arrested and charged with committing 18 sex offences which occurred between 1972 and 1981. On 17 December 1999, Cooke received two life sentences
 
 

 
 

Sidney Cooke (also known as Hissing Sid), (born 18 April 1927) is a British convicted paedophile serving two life sentences for a string of rapes against young boys.

Along with three accomplices, Cooke was imprisoned in 1989 for the manslaughter of Jason Swift in 1985. Jason was a fourteen year old boy, one of many the four men had brutalized, sexually tortured, and prostituted over a number of years.

Cooke was sentenced to 19 years in prison, but was paroled in 1998 after convincing an appeals court that one of his accomplices was the ringleader of the paedophile ring.

That same accomplice had told authorities that Cooke had murdered a 7-year-old boy called Mark Tildesley, in Wokingham, Berkshire in June 1984, but his role in the death was not investigated until years later. The boy's body has never been found. Mark disappeared while visiting a funfair in Wokingham on the evening of Friday 1 June 1984. It was believed he was lured away from the fair by Cooke, who had manned a test your strength machine, on the promise of a 50p bag of sweets. His bicycle was found chained to railings nearby.

Three of the gang, Cooke, Lennie Smith and Leslie Bailey were put to trial in 1991 over Mark's murder but only Bailey was charged as they all blamed each other. He was subsequently himself murdered in prison by two fellow inmates in 1993. The Crown Prosecution Service declined to prosecute Cooke for Mark Tildesley's murder as he was already in prison for the manslaughter of Jason Swift. Cooke still refuses to discuss where they disposed of Mark's body after they killed him.

In 1999, a year after he was paroled, Cooke was arrested again for sexually abusing two brothers over several months in 1972-73, a crime which, among others, had come to public attention after they were reported on in the Channel 4 documentary Dispatches. At trial, Cooke admitted committing a number of sexual offences against children (while denying certain others) and blamed the sexual abuse he said he himself had suffered as a child.


Sidney Cooke (also known as Hissing Sid), (born 18 April 1927) is a British convicted child molester serving two life sentences.

Biography

Along with three accomplices Leslie Bailey, Robert Oliver and Lennie Smith Cooke was sentenced to 19 years in prison in May 1989 for the manslaughter of 14-year-old Jason Swift. The gang, led by Cooke, gang-raped Swift in what the mainstream media described as a homosexual orgy, in November 1985.

Leslie Bailey had informed authorities that Cooke was among those who murdered seven-year-old Mark Tildesley in Wokingham, Berkshire, but Cooke's role in the murder was not investigated until 1999; by this time, Bailey was dead, having been murdered in prison in October 1993. Tildesley disappeared while visiting a funfair in Wokingham on the evening of 1 June 1984. He was lured away from the fair and his bicycle was found chained to railings nearby. In 1991, the Crown Prosecution Service declined to prosecute Cooke for Mark Tildesley's murder as he was already in prison for the manslaughter of Jason Swift.

Cooke's sentence was reduced to 16 years on appeal in 1989, and he was paroled nine years later in April 1998. He told an appeals court that Bailey was the ringleader of the gang, who are believed to have killed at least nine victims.

Cooke's parole caused huge public outrage. This was exacerbated by a plan to move him to a hostel near two schools, and Cooke himself admitted that he might re-offend; while in prison, he refused to take part in rehabilitation sessions.

Police refused to disclose the location where he was to be moved, smuggling him out of jail to avoid a vigil for his victims. There were several demonstrations against Cooke's release. As the police feared for his safety, he was forced to live in a suite of cells at Yeovil Police station, but on 26 January 1999, he was again arrested and charged with committing 18 sex offences which occurred between 1972 and 1981. These included repeated abuse and assault of two brothers and the rape of a young woman. Many of the offences had come to public attention after they were reported on in the Channel 4 documentary Dispatches.

At his trial on 5 October 1999, Cooke pleaded guilty to sexually abusing the two brothers on 10 occasions in 1972 and 1973. He admitted to having carried out five counts of indecent assault and five counts of buggery but denied the remaining eight charges, which were four counts of rape, three further counts of indecent assault, and one of buggery, that occurred in 1981. These were abandoned by the judge, who ordered them to lie on file. As a defence for his crimes, Cooke claimed to have himself been sexually abused as a child.

On 17 December 1999, Cooke received two life sentences, and the judge told Cooke that he would only be considered for release after he had served a five-year jail sentence. He is still behind bars today for these offences, even though the five-year minimum sentence has elapsed.

Cooke has since suffered a stroke while in prison, and has been provided with a specially adapted mechanical bed due to his impaired mobility.

While in prison, Cooke has struck a friendship with a fellow paedophile dubbed "Britain's Josef Fritzl." The pair who are hated by everyone in Wakefield prison, are said to be inseparable. One insider said: "It's almost a perfect match - two sickos getting together to form some kind of twisted bond."

In popular culture

Mockumentary Brass Eye did a skit in which Chris Morris pretended that Cooke had been sent into space to keep him away from children. Prior to the launch, an eight-year-old boy was placed on board with Cooke by mistake.

Wikipedia.org


Cooke: The predatory paedophile

Friday, December 17, 1999

BBCNews

Sidney Cooke is regarded as a dangerous and predatory paedophile who even at the age of 72 remains a constant threat to youngsters.

He has been given two life sentences for a catalogue of crimes involving the systematic rape and abuse of two brothers over several years.

But these horrific admissions are just one of a series of depraved acts the persistent offender has committed during the past three decades.

In his job as a fairground worker, Cooke was able to travel the country preying on vulnerable youngsters.

Known by colleagues as Hissing Sid, he set up his children's 'Test Your Strength' machine at fairgrounds around the country using the opportunity to meet boys and lure them into depraved homosexual orgies.

Sexual torture

With his sick friends Robert Oliver, Lennie Smith and Leslie Bailey, he would drug the children before subjecting them to brutal assaults.

Cooke, who habitually dressed in a filthy suit and trilby hat, was one of a 1980s gang suspected of being responsible for the killing of up to nine young boys during sex orgies.

Operating from a flat on the Kingsmead estate in Hackney, east London, the gang hired rent boys or snatched children off the streets and subjected them to horrific sexual torture.

The former farm worker led the paedophile ring jailed for killing 14-year-old Jason Swift from Hackney, East London, in 1984.

A gang of men each paid 5 to have sex with Jason in the "stinking, filthy" flat they used on the Kingsmead.

A few hours later he was dead. His body was found in a shallow grave on the outskirts of London.

'Evil man'

Detective Superintendent David Bright, who was involved in the hunt for the killers of the teenager, said: "I can't think of anything worse that could happen to a human being and a vulnerable young man.

"Cooke is a very hard and resilient man. He's a very strong character but he's an evil man."

Cooke was sent to prison for 19 years in 1989 for Jason's manslaughter but later managed to get his sentence reduced to 16 years by appeal court judges and was released after just nine in 1998.

He convinced the judges that Leslie Bailey was the evil genius and the mastermind behind the gang.

Cooke, however, was named by Bailey as one of the killers of seven-year-old Mark Tildesley, who vanished in June 1984.

Grieving parents

Mark disappeared after visiting a funfair near his home in Wokingham, Berks.

His bicycle was recovered nearby but no trace of him has ever been found. Police believe he was lured away from the fair by Cooke for the promise of a 50p bag of sweets before being tortured and killed by Cooke's gang in a caravan.

Cooke has indicated he knows where Mark's body is buried but refuses to tell police or the boy's grieving parents exactly where his grave is.

In 1991 the Crown Prosecution Service declined to prosecute Cooke for Mark's murder.

During his time in London's Wandsworth prison Cooke was admired by other paedophiles for the extent of his depravity and the lengths he was prepared to go to ensnare his victims.

Angry protests had greeted his release from prison last year and he was forced to keep on the move as soon as his identity was discovered.

He eventually lived, at his own request, in a suite of three cells at Yeovil police station in Somerset where the Home Office provided him with a TV, washing machine, microwave and small cooker.

Nearly a year after his release, Cooke was arrested at the police station by Thames Valley Police detectives investigating allegations of rape and other serious sexual offences which had come to light after the Channel 4 documentary, Dispatches.

Following his sentencing, NSPCC director Jim Harding said of the sentence: "The children who were abused by Sidney Cooke suffered some of the vilest and cruelest sex offences imaginable.

"He should never have been freed after serving his last sentence. We sincerely hope he will never be given the opportunity to hurt another child again."


Victims snared at funfairs

BBC.co.uk

October 5, 1999

Paedophile Sidney Cooke set up his own funfair stall at fairgrounds around the country to lure his unsuspecting victims.

The 72-year-old, nicknamed Hissing Sid, used a children's Test Your Strength machine to meet his victims and trap them into under-age sex orgies.

With his friends Robert Oliver, Lennie Smith and Leslie Bailey, former farm worker Cooke would drug the children before subjecting them to brutal assaults.

Habitually dressed in a dirty suit and trilby hat, he was one of a gang in the 1980s suspected of the deaths of up to nine boys.

Operating from a flat on the Kingsmead estate in Hackney, east London, the gang hired underage male prostitutes or snatched children off the streets to torture them sexually, including Jason Swift, a 14-year-old rent boy from Hackney.

A group of men each paid 5 to have sex with Jason in the Kingsmead flat. He was later found strangled in a shallow grave on the outskirts of London.

'Appalling beyond belief'

Det Supt Bright of Essex Police described Cooke as "cocky and arrogant" before he eventually confessed to Jason's killing. It was appalling beyond belief," he said.

Det Bright described how the gang would stalk boys at fairgrounds as if they were hunting prey.

He added: "There are certain cases that you work on during your career that will never leave you. I will never forget Jason."

Cooke was sent to prison for 19 years in 1989 for Jason's manslaughter but managed to get his sentence reduced to 16 years and was released after nine.

Bailey named him as one of the killers of Mark Tildesley, seven, who disappeared after visiting a funfair near his home in Wokingham, Berkshire.

Police believe he was lured away from the fair by Cooke on the promise of a 50p bag of sweets.

Admired in jail

He was then tortured and killed by Cooke's gang in a caravan in almost exactly the same way as Jason.

But in 1991 the CPS declined to prosecute Cooke for Mark's death as he was already in prison for killing Jason.

Cooke has indicated that he knows where Mark's body is buried but refuses to tell police or the boy's grieving parents exactly where his grave is.

During his time in Wandsworth Prison in London Cooke was held on a special wing for sex offenders.

He became the centre of attention, admired by other paedophiles for the extent of his depravity and the lengths he was prepared to go to ensnare his victims.

Detective Constable Tina Birnie said: "He (Cooke) has been put on a pedestal because he killed all of those kids. It was a fantasy to all those paedophiles to go a bit further."

After his release in April last year Cooke lived, at his own request, in a suite of three cells at Yeovil police station in Somerset for his own safety.

He was arrested at the police station by detectives investigating allegations of serious sexual offences.


Child killer 'living in fear'

Monday, 11 May, 1998

BBCNews

Child killer Sidney Cooke is living in fear of the public reaction to his release from prison, according to the police officer guarding him.

In an interview with BBC1's Panorama, Detective Superintendent David Edwards, of Avon and Somerset police, says Cooke is well aware how hated he is.

But Mr Edwards gave an assurance that the public would be protected - and said he was prepared to act if Cooke ever decided to leave secure accommodation.

"He certainly does not want to face the public. He is very well aware of the public reaction to him ... and is in some fear of that," he told Panorama - due to be broadcast on Monday.

"He spends a lot of his time watching television, he reads the papers. He cleans his accommodation, he sends out for food, he has his own money. He generally busies himself living under supervision in secure accommodation," he said.

'Nowhere else to go'

Cooke, who was released on April 6 after serving nine years of a sentence for the manslaughter of Jason Swift, 14, is free to walk out of his secure accommodation in the Avon and Somerset area at any time.

But Mr Edwards said: "If Mr Cooke does walk out of the police station we will react accordingly. If necessary we can also put a policeman with him 24 hours a day. In practice he has nowhere else to go."

But he also insisted that efforts should be made to rehabilitate Cooke.

He added: "If a person serves their term of imprisonment then surely it is incumbent on society to make every attempt to rehabilitate this person ... to rehabilitate and to absorb him into society."

There was a near-riot in the Knowle West area of Bristol and a series of protests in the Somerset towns of Yeovil and Bridgwater after it emerged that Cooke was being kept in a police station in the Avon and Somerset area.

The protests followed similar scenes in east London after Cooke was kept under guard by police in a secure building.

Lavinia Tildesley, the mother of seven-year-old Mark Tildesley, who disappeared from a fairground in Wokingham, Berkshire, in June 1995, also spoke to Panorama.

She appealed to Cooke, who was named in court as being involved in her son's killing, but was never charged, to tell her where the body is buried.

She said: "It's a long time gone, but if he'd just tell us, we'd know, and we can start living our life again."


SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: N MOTIVE: Sex.

MO: Fairgrounds worker and pedophile child-slayer

DISPOSITION: 16 years on one count, 1988 (paroled 1998)



Sidney Cooke

 

Jason Swift: Killed by gang in Hackney flat

 

 

 
 
 
 
contact