Child victims of sexual abuse commended for their bravery in Sheffield child prostitution case

(left to right Christopher, Matthew and Shane Whiteley)
Amanda Spencer
Taleb Bapir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A gang of rapists who orchestrated child prostitution will be sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday.

Hackenthorpe brothers Christopher, 23, Matthew, 25, and Shane Whiteley, 30 were found guilty of multiple sexual offences including rape, sexual assault against a child under 13, conspiracy to arrange child prostitution and theft.

Appearing alongside the Whiteley brothers were Amanda Spencer, 26, originally from Rotherham but currently serving in prison, and Taleb Bapir, 39, from Burngreave, who were respectively found guilty of four counts of arranging child prostitution and rape.

The verdicts reached by the jury on Monday could not be reported until now for legal reasons.

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Martin Tate, who oversaw the investigation into this group, said: “These individuals targeted, groomed and exploited vulnerable girls for sexual gratification.”

“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 jury found the defendants not guilty on some charges and, whilst disappointed, I respect the jury’s decision.”

“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.”

“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 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.”

Jayne Ludlam, Executive Director of Children, Young People and Families at Sheffield City Council said: “Today I want to commend the bravery of the young women involved in this case, who spoke out against the exploitation that they suffered and then had to re-live it all again in court. It sends a clear message to anyone involved in the sexual exploitation of vulnerable young people- you will be identified, pursued and prosecuted.

“Their testimonies and courage will have helped to prevent other young people suffering similar abuses and we are grateful for this.

“Here in Sheffield we are not afraid to tackle child sexual exploitation. We will now, as we always do, in cases such as this, review the way we work, and continue improving and developing our services.

“We will continue to work with partner agencies such as South Yorkshire Police, as well as parents, carers and young people in our fight to prevent sexual exploitation being perpetrated against children and young people.

“Our absolute priority, though, will be to continue to work and support those affected by this case.

“We would encourage anyone affected by abuse such as this to report it. We will support you throughout and do our utmost to bring those responsible to justice.”

The group have been remanded in custody and will appear again before Sheffield Crown Court on Friday 28 April for sentencing.

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