ONE of Britain's most notorious paedophiles has failed in a bid to be freed from jail for the 10th time.

Child killer Sidney Cooke, 94, is one of the oldest prisoners to come before the Parole Board in recent years.

His latest request for release was rejected today (Thursday, October 28).

In 1999, Cooke was given two life sentences after admitting a systematic campaign of abuse against two young brothers in the 1970s, following a TV appeal after his early release.

He was told at the time he would not be considered for release until he had served at least five years, and only if the Parole Board was satisfied he was no longer a danger to the public.

At the time, he had been living at his own request in a suite of three cells at Yeovil Police Station following angry protests at his early release, which forced him to keep on the move every time his identity was discovered.

At one stage an angry crowd in Taunton marched on a mental health unit in Cheddon Road in the mistaken belief Cooke was being held there for his own safety.

When he was jailed for life with a minimum term of five years in 1999, a judge described Cooke, who is also known by the surname Lomas, as a paedophile "of the highest level of risk" and his victims said they hoped he would die behind bars.

Then 72, he had admitted a campaign of abuse against two brothers in the 1970s which began when they were just 13 and spanned five years.

Prior to that he had served nine years for the 1984 killing of 14-year-old Jason Swift.

He has also been linked to the unsolved murder of seven-year-old Mark Tildesley, who disappeared in 1984 after visiting a funfair near his home in Wokingham, Berkshire, and is suspected of being involved in the kidnap and murder of six-year-old Barry Lewis.

Nicknamed 'Hissing Sid', Cooke was one of a 1980s gang known as a 'Dirty Dozen' 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 sexual torture.

Cooke travelled the country preying on vulnerable youngsters, setting up his children's Test Your Strength machine in fairgrounds and using this as an opportunity to lure boys before drugging them and subjecting them to brutal assaults.

The Parole Board said: "After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the other evidence presented ... the panel was not satisfied that Mr Cooke was suitable for release ... nor did the panel recommend to the Secretary of State that Mr Cooke should be transferred to open prison."

The document detailing the decision described Cooke, at the time of his offending, as having "manipulative and controlling behaviour for his own gratification" and believing he could have sex "as and when he wanted".

It added: "His behaviour in prison had been mixed and had provoked concerns and even allegations over the years."

He will be eligible for another parole review in about two years' time.