‘Monster’ ex-soldier who raped and abused girls and women over 45 dies after capturing Covid in jail

A ‘monster’ ex-soldier who a judge said had abused women and children to his ‘life’s work’ died after capturing Covid-19 in jail, a report reveals.

Dennis Smalley raped seven teenage girls and women and sexually abused four other girls in a 45-year terror campaign, a court said.

He was jailed for 25 years in March 2016.

An official report released Monday by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, which is conducting independent investigations into complaints and deaths in custody, confirms that the evil Smalley died in hospital from Covid pneumonia on March 16 while a prisoner in the high-security HMP Wakefield .

He was 70.

The report says that Smalley had not left Wakefield – nicknamed ‘Monster Mansion’ – in the weeks before he became ill, and ‘it therefore appears that he caught Covid-19 in jail’.

However, it goes on to say that investigators were convinced that the prison had “appropriate policies and procedures in place and had taken reasonable steps to deal with the risk of the prisoners, including Mr Smalley, becoming infected”.

A senior detective who led the investigation of the former military bandman said he left a ‘trace of destruction’ through the lives of his 11 victims.

Detective Claire Hughes said after the hearing: “I’ve had the dissatisfaction of dealing with some really disgusting people in my time at Greater Manchester Police, but Dennis Smalley is without a doubt one of the worst I’ve ever met.



HMP Wakefield: Credit Anders Hanson / Flickr

“He is a man who is apparently incapable of inflicting on the unfortunate women and girls anything but misery he encountered during his life.

“The trail of destruction that this man has created through the lives of so many young girls and women is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to repair.

“But I hope they can somehow find solace in the fact that this monster is now behind bars for the rest of his life.”

He was 65 when he was jailed.



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That Manchester Evening News reported Smalley, from Hindley in Wigan, attacked a woman shortly after she gave birth.

A woman was raped, sexually abused and assaulted by him for more than a decade, and many of his victims were young teenagers.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Smalley’s abuse started in the 1970s and continued for almost 45 years.

His victims, some who were abused after care, were left ‘psychologically scarred’ by their trials from his hands.



Liverpool Crown Court

Smalley was jailed after being found guilty by a jury of 44 charges – 25 rapes, 16 counts of either indecent assault or indecency with a child, two serious sexual crimes and assault that caused actual bodily harm.

The report says Smalley first followed advice from prison staff to protect themselves from coronavirus by 2020.

He received his first dose of a vaccination on February 25 this year, but was tested positive on March 2.

The report adds that his condition worsened and he was taken to the hospital on March 11, where he died five days later.

“The clinical reviewer concluded that Mr. Smalley’s clinical treatment at Wakefield was of a good standard and corresponded to what he might have expected in the community.

“We found no non-clinical concerns,” the report said.

“Mr Smalley had not left Wakefield in the weeks before he became ill, so it appears he caught COVID-19 in jail.”

Smalley was the 26th prisoner in Wakefield to die since March 2019.

Two were self-inflicted and the others for natural reasons, the report says.

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