CHILD PROSTITUTION RING: Sheffield girls as young as 12 forced to sell themselves

Amanda Spencer is accused of arranging child prostitution
Amanda Spencer is accused of arranging child prostitution

Amanda Spencer and Chistopher Whiteley played 'key roles' in a Sheffield child prostitution ring through which they forced girls as young as 12 to engage in sexual activity for their financial and personal gain, a court heard.

During the opening of the trial today, through which six defendants are being tried for 42 offences against nine victims, Sheffield Crown Court was told how both Christopher, 23, and Amanda, 25, would befriend young girls, plying them with alcohol, drugs, make-up and attention before forcing them to carry out sex acts they did not consent to.

Andre Frances Edge is accused of conspiracy to arrange child prostitution and conspiracy to rape

Andre Frances Edge is accused of conspiracy to arrange child prostitution and conspiracy to rape

The defendants deny all charges, which are alleged to have taken place between 2005 and 2012 in Sheffield.

Amanda, previously of Canklow Road, Canklow Rotherham preyed upon troubled girls hanging around in the Castle Market area of Sheffield between 2008 and 2012 when she was aged between 17 and 21, it is alleged.

Christopher, of Weakland Crescent, Hackenthorpe is alleged to have carried out acts of rape and sexual assault against similarly vulnerable girls at Castle Market between 2007 and 2010 when he was between the ages of 13 and 16-years-old.

He is also alleged to have also been on the other side of the child prostitution ring, forcing young girls into sexual activity with strangers, along with his brothers Shane Whiteley, 29, and Matthew Whiteley, 24, both of Weakland Crescent, Hackenthorpe and their friend Andre Francis Edge, 25 of Wheatley Road, Parson Cross.

Matthew Whiteley is accused of conspiracy to arrange child prostitution and conspiracy to rape

Matthew Whiteley is accused of conspiracy to arrange child prostitution and conspiracy to rape

This is alleged to have taken place in Shane's flat in Victoria Court, West Street which was used as a brothel by the four defendants, who charged men £50 to have sex with their victims.

Prosecutor Peter Hampton told Sheffield Crown Court that the one thing the nine victims have in common is their 'vulnerability'.

At the time they were exploited two of the girls were in care, and another two suffered from learning difficulties.

He said: "All were lacking in self-esteem and the wherewithal to protect themselves from exploitation."

Shane Whiteley is accused of conspiracy to arrange child prostitution and conspiracy to rape

Shane Whiteley is accused of conspiracy to arrange child prostitution and conspiracy to rape

The court was told how Amanda led a similarly 'troubled' existence from a young age, from which time she was placed into the care system and was most likely forced into prostitution herself.

Mr Hampton said: "She turned her dreadful situation on its head. She became a facilitator of sexual abuse herself.

"As a victim of sexual exploitation herself, she would have known how degrading and abusive that life was

"She would have spotted the inevitable vulnerabilities of her young victims. Far better to earn money prostituting others than having to do it yourself."

Taleb Bapir is accused of raping a girl aged between 15 and 16-years-old who was allegedly prostituted by Amanda Spencer

Taleb Bapir is accused of raping a girl aged between 15 and 16-years-old who was allegedly prostituted by Amanda Spencer

The court was told how Amanda, now aged 25, would initially act in kind and generous manner towards the girls she targeted, listening to them and providing them with drink and drugs as well as items she had stolen for them such as make-up.

But the prosecution say this veneer would not last for long and shortly after meeting her victims Amanda would force them to carry out sex acts on men by threatening them with violence if they did not comply. Amanda would then pocket the money.

One of Amanda's alleged victims - Girl A, who was aged between 15 and 16-years-old at the time, says she was taken to the houses of around 50 men by Amanda all of whom she was forced to engage in sexual activity with.

The court was told how on every occasion Girl A would be plied with alcohol and complied with what Amanda asked her to do because she was fearful Amanda would become violent towards her.

Mr Hampton told the court how Amanda would receive payment for the acts carried out by Girl A, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and in turn would provide her with 'cigarettes and the occasional bit of food'.

One of the men Amanda is alleged to have prostituted Girl A to is Taleb Bapir, aged 38.

Taleb, then aged between 32 and 34-years-old is alleged to have raped Girl A at his home in Verdon Street, Neepsend when she refused to have sex with him as instructed by Amanda.

Another of the clients Amanda is alleged to have 'pimped' girls out to is Christopher Whiteley, who Mr Hampton describes as the other defendant to play a 'key role' in the abuse of the young complainants in the trial.

Girl B, who was aged between 12 and 14 at the time, is alleged to have been raped by Christopher at Castle Market on a number of occasions with the assistance of Amanda, who he would later pay. He was aged between 13 and 15 at the time of these alleged offences.

Mr Hampton said: "It will be obvious to you that Amanda Spencer was effectively pimping out or prostituting Girl B at Castle Market, behaviour reflected by counts 18-21, causing the child prostitution of Girl B."

Amanda Spencer has previously been convicted of child prostitution offences that run concurrently with the charges she faces in this trial, the court was told.

Continuing on to Christopher Whiteley's role, Mr Hampton told the court that while Christopher may have only been 13 at the time of the first allegation he faces, and 16 at the time of the final one, that 'he portrayed himself as much older than his physical years and that he was also very street-wise'.

He said: "It is the prosecution's case that regardless of his age Christopher Whiteley's behaviour towards these girls amounted to a form of grooming.

"His offending amounts to cynical and manipulative behaviour designed to achieve a particular sexual objective.

The court was also told how Christopher was convicted of sexual offences by youth courts when he was just 13-years-old.

Matthew Whiteley is also charged with two counts of sexual activity with a child under the age of consent, and Christopher Whiteley is charged with one count of theft.

The trial continues.