A pensioner accused of paying for the sexual services of children has died mid-way through his trial.
John McLachlan, aged 66, of Downham Road, Firth Park, Sheffield, was alleged to have been among a group of men who paid for the sexual services of vulnerable children befriended by a Sheffield woman who ‘ran a pool of prostitutes’.
He was accused of two counts of paying for the sexual services of children aged between 13 and 15 who were alleged to have been supplied by 22-year-old Amanda Spencer.
She is accused of plying young girls with drink and drugs and luring them into prostitution.
But jurors in the trial were told yesterday that McLachlan had been found dead at his home that morning.
There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.
He turned up on day one of his trial in a wheelchair but was then deemed too ill to attend any further court hearings.
Spencer, McLachlan and four other men - Lee Unwin, 27, of Nether Green Road, Nether Green; Kareem 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.
They, along with Spencer are accused of a total of 46 child sexual exploitation offences against nine victims.
All of the defendants deny all the charges. Yesterday jurors were read a series of written statements from professionals who knew Spencer when she was living in accommodation provided by housing projects.
Lisa Walters, a project worker for Turning Point, which helps 18 to 25 year-olds set up home, said Spencer moved into a unit in Burngreave and told staff she had endured ‘a bad upbringing’.
Ms Walters said she appeared ‘vulnerable’ but said she also demonstrated ‘spoilt, affected behaviour’.
She said Spencer initially used to ‘socialise with others girls and boys who were considerably younger than she was’ before she started being visited by ‘Kurdish males’.
Ms Walters said Spencer led a ‘chaotic lifestyle’, drank and took drugs. The trial continues.