The investigating officer in a Sheffield child prostitution trial, that has led to the conviction of four men and a woman, says the group 'stole the childhoods' of their victims who were aged between 12 and 17-years-old.
Following a six week trial at Sheffield Crown Court, it took jurors just under three days to find brothers Christopher Whiteley, 23, Matthew Whiteley, 24 and Shane Whiteley, 30, all of Weakland Crescent, Hackenthorpe, Amanda Spencer, 26, formerly of Canklow Road, Rotherham and Taleb Bapir, 38, of Verdon Street, Neepsend guilty of 18 offences involving child prostitution and sex abuse.
The convictions relate to the abuse and child prostitution of five girls aged between 12 and 17-years-old.
Jurors reached verdicts on Friday and Monday, and reporting restrictions on the case were lifted this morning.
Speaking following the conclusion of the trial, Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Martin Tate, who oversaw the investigation into this group, said: “Between 2005 and 2011, these individuals targeted, groomed and exploited vulnerable girls for sexual gratification.
“The victims’ lives were damaged and childhoods stolen by this group’s heinous crimes. Nine very brave young women gave evidence of their abuse in this trial, supported by numerous family members who were also significantly affected by these crimes.
“The bravery of the victims has resulted in the conviction of five very dangerous offenders who are now in prison for multiple sexual offences. The jury found the defendants not guilty on some charges and, whilst disappointed, I respect the jury’s decision.
“It demonstrates the complexity of these prosecutions and does not detract from the numerous guilty verdicts against five offenders.
“I commend the victims, many of whom are now vulnerable women trying to rebuild their lives, for their bravery in coming forward and speaking to police about the horrific abuse they faced. I am grateful they put their trust in us to take this prosecution forward.
“Not one of those convicted accepted responsibility for their horrific crimes, meaning the victims have had to recount in detail before a jury the awful and upsetting abuse they were subjected to.
“This was a joint prosecution with Sheffield City Council social care and the Crown Prosecution Service and I would like to thank them for their commitment to this case. We are passionate about close partnership working and protecting vulnerable people together. I am also proud of the South Yorkshire Police staff involved in this case over a period of nearly three years. They work tirelessly to bring these complex and difficult cases to court.
“I also want to take this opportunity to thank the agencies we have worked closely alongside throughout our inquiry, who have played vital roles in supporting our victims and preparing them for this trial.
“Although this prosecution is a key event in rebuilding lives, it is only the start of the process for many. Many wonderful people in the voluntary sector are committed to helping victims of abuse. Specifically I would like to thank City Hearts, an organisation and charity that helps numerous young women.
“This case sadly highlights to us all that there are both men and women out there who would seek to sexually exploit children, and that any community or any child could fall victim to this devastating abuse.
“As a result, we remain absolutely determined to finding those responsible for these abhorrent crimes and bringing them to justice. I would encourage any victim of crime or abuse to contact police on 101 or 999. We absolutely want to help. You can also call or text the national helpline Say Something on 116 000.”
CHILD PROSTITUTION TRIAL VERDICTS:
- Shane Whiteley - One count of conspiracy to cause or incite child prostitution
- Matthew Whiteley - One count of conspiracy to cause or incite child prostitution
- Christopher Whiteley - One count of conspiracyconspiracy to cause or incite child prostitution; four counts of rape; two counts of sexual assault and one count of theft
- Amanda Spencer - Four counts of arranging child prostitution
- Taleb Bapir - One count of rape
- Matthew Whiteley - Two counts of conspiracy to cause or incite child prostitution
- Shane Whiteley - Two counts of conspiracy to cause or incite child prostitution
- Christopher Whiteley -Two counts of conspiracy to cause or incite child prostitution, and four counts of rape.
- Amanda Spencer - 14 counts of arranging and causing child prostitution and rape.