'Dangerous' Rotherham man jailed for 25 years for sex attacks on children

Tony Chapman
Tony Chapman

A Rotherham man branded 'dangerous' has been locked up for 25 years over 17 sex attacks on three young girls.

Tony Chapman, aged 42, was sentenced as part of the National Crime Agency’s investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in Rotherham.

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Chapman, from Lindley Street, Eastwood, admitted 12 charges of indecently assaulting a girl under the age of 16 between February 1998 and January 1999.

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And he was found guilty of five offences against two separate girls including rape, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and threatening to kill following a nine-day trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

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The offences took place between October 2013 and May 2015 when the girls were under the age of 16.

Sentencing him today, Judge David Dixon told Chapman he was a 'very dangerous and callous man who thought he was invincible' and showing 'no remorse' for his actions.

Senior Investigating Officer, Paul Williamson, from the National Crime Agency's 'Operation Stovewood', said: "I have said it before, but the courage of complainants to come forward and re-count their harrowing pasts of abuse should not be underestimated.

"This is a further case of an adult preying on vulnerable children and without their courage and trust, we would not be able to hold offenders to account for the offences they committed and finally render justice for those affected.

"The evidence we were able to compile against Tony Chapman meant he had no choice but to plead guilty to sexually abusing one of the victims who was a child at the time of offending. "Her courage, and that of the two victims who stood in court and courageously gave evidence of what happened to them, means Chapman will no longer pose a threat to other young girls."

He addded: "As heard in court, Chapman has posed a danger to children across generations and the young community of Rotherham will be a lot safer now that justice has been rendered and he is behind bars.

"Our investigations are challenging, but I have no doubt today’s verdict will give victims of past abuse in Rotherham continued confidence that they will be listened to, that crimes committed against them will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated by the National Crime Agency.

"Working with South Yorkshire Police, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and the many other partners we are engaged with, we will not stop in our endeavours to ensure the perpetrators who exploited vulnerable young people in the worst imaginable way will be finally held accountable for their crimes."

Operation Stovewood is the NCA’s independent investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse and exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

Chapman is the fifth offender to be convicted so far.

There are currently 24 separate investigations under the Stovewood umbrella, with 125 suspects identified and more than 270 complainants engaging with officers.

A total 18 suspects have been charged, 10 released under investigation and two have been cautioned.