Woman ‘recruited child prostitutes’ in Sheffield

Amanda Spencer at Sheffield Crown Court accused of a string of child sex offences including child prostitution. Photo: ''Paul Macnamara/rossparry.co.uk
Amanda Spencer at Sheffield Crown Court accused of a string of child sex offences including child prostitution. Photo: ''Paul Macnamara/rossparry.co.uk
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Vulnerable girls as young as 11 were befriended by a young woman who plied them with drugs and alcohol and then lured them into prostitution in Sheffield, a court heard.

Amanda Spencer, now aged 22, ran a ‘pool of prostitutes’ rather than having to sell her own body for drugs money, it is alleged.

Amanda Spencer at Sheffield Crown Court accused of a string of child sex offences including child prostitution.  Paul Macnamara/rossparry.co.uk

Amanda Spencer at Sheffield Crown Court accused of a string of child sex offences including child prostitution. Paul Macnamara/rossparry.co.uk

She and five men are accused of 46 child sexual exploitation offences against nine victims, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

It is alleged that between 2006 and 2011 Spencer exploited nine girls - many of whom were in the care system - before forcing them into a life of alcohol, drugs and sex.

They were introduced to men at locations across Sheffield including the Peace Gardens and Castle Markets and told to have sex with them.

If they refused Spencer turned violent, it is claimed.

Michelle Colborne QC, prosecuting, said Spencer would tell the girls to lie about their ages and dress provocatively.

She said: “Many of the victims in this case were in the care system or marked as ‘missing from home’ at the relevant time, those still at home experiencing difficulties to varying degrees.

“All were lacking in self esteem and the wherewithal or sense to protect themselves from exploitation.”

Spencer, who grew up in care herself, denies a string of 38 charges, including arranging or facilitating a child sexual offence, inciting or causing a child to become a prostitute and arranging or facilitating the prostitution.

Addressing the jury Miss Colborne said: “Exploiter or exploited? A likely issue for you to consider from the start is whether Amanda Spencer was a victim herself..whether having a troubled start, she turned that situation on its head and lured others into a similar life for her own ends.

“The prosecution say that a victim of exploitation would have known how degrading and abusive that life was.

“She would have spotted the inevitable vulnerabilities of youngsters like herself and would have known that by introducing them to drugs and alcohol, to men for sexual favours she was introducing them to the same degradation and

abuse.

Miss Colborne added: “Amanda Spencer was a fraud, say the prosecution. 
“She hung around the town centre identifying and befriending vulnerable children.

“She made them feel loved, she gave them a shoulder to cry on, a friend who purported to understand whatever sadness they were experiencing in their lives and in turn lured them into a life of abuse, which she exploited and profited from.

“Although the children knew they were being sold for cash, their own drug and alcohol addiction sere so entrenched that they were incapable to extricate themselves.

“She told them how to dress more provocatively, to lie about their age and to close their minds to the reality of the sexual experiences, concentrating instead on the drugs.

“Those who had the temerity to refuse to do as they were instructed felt her wrath. She was violent and they were frightened of her.”

The men - Lee Unwin, aged 27, of Nether Green Road, Nether Green, John Mclachlan, 66, of Downham Road, Firth Park, Kareen Ahmed, 30, of Manor Park Centre, Manor, Bashdar Hamadamin, 27, of Rock Street, Burngreave, and another 68-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are charged with offences connected with the alleged abuse of the girls - who were aged between 11 and 20.

McLachlan, who was too ill to sit in the dock, and Unwin deny paying for the sexual service of a child.

Ahmed is accused of arranging or facilitating travel for the commission of a sexual offence, and Hamadamin, faces a charge of rape.

The fifth man is accused of three counts of sexual assault, one on a child under 13.

All of the defendants deny all the charges.
The trial continues.