Update issued Friday 28 April 2017
Five people who groomed and sexually abused girls in Sheffield have been jailed for a combined total of over 40 years today (Friday 28 April).
Following a seven-week trial that concluded last month, four men and a woman were convicted of a series of child sexual offences including conspiracy to cause child prostitution, arranging child prostitution and rape. Their details and their sentences, which total 43 years in prison, were passed down to them by a judge at Sheffield Crown Court today and are as follows:
· Christopher Whiteley, 23, formerly of Hackenthorpe, Sheffield – jailed for 15 years
· Matthew Whiteley, 25, of Weakland Crescent, Hackenthorpe – jailed for seven years
· Shane Whiteley, 30, of Weakland Crescent, Hackenthorpe – jailed for eight years
· Amanda Spencer, 26, formerly of Rotherham – jailed for three years to run consecutively to her current 12-year prison term
· Taleb Bapir, 39, of Verdon Street, Burngreave – jailed for ten years
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Tate, the senior investigating officer, said: “Today’s hearing is a culmination of a two-year investigation into the organised grooming and sexual abuse of children in Sheffield.
“Five very dangerous sexual offenders are now behind bars for their horrendous crimes, thanks in large part to the courage of nine incredibly brave women who put their faith in South Yorkshire Police.
“I am grateful to those victims for coming forward and having confidence in our officers to investigate these crimes thoroughly and bring those responsible before the courts.
“I hope today’s hearing and these custodial sentences mark another step forward for the victims as they try to rebuild their lives and come to terms with the awful abuse they faced.
“I again offer my thanks to Sheffield City Council social care and the Crown Prosecution Service for working alongside to bring this case to court, and to the voluntary sector, who are committed to helping victims of abuse and who have been excellent sources of support throughout our investigation.”
Anyone with concerns about child sexual exploitation should call 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress. Advice and support is also available by calling or texting the national helpline Say Something on 116 000.
Pictured in collage clockwise from top left: Christopher Whiteley, Shane Whiteley, Matthew Whiteley, Amanda Spencer, Taleb Bapir
Issued Wednesday 22 March 2017
Four men and a woman who targeted, groomed and sexually abused girls in Sheffield between 2005 and 2011 have been found guilty of numerous sexual offences.
On trial at Sheffield Crown Court over seven weeks were brothers 23-year-old Christopher Whiteley, Matthew Whiteley, 25, and Shane Whiteley, 30, each charged with multiple child sexual exploitation offences. (Collage left to right: Christopher, Matthew, Shane)
On Friday 17 March, a jury returned partial verdicts with remaining verdicts delivered on Monday 20 March.
A jury found Christopher Whiteley, formerly of Hackenthorpe, Sheffield, guilty of multiple counts of rape, sexual assault against a child under 13, conspiracy to arrange child prostitution and theft.
They also found Matthew Whiteley and Shane Whiteley, both of Weakland Crescent, Hackenthorpe, each guilty of conspiracy to cause child prostitution.
Appearing alongside the Whiteley brothers on trial was 26-year-old Amanda Spencer (middle right), formerly of Rotherham and currently in prison. A jury found her guilty of four counts of arranging child prostitution.
A fourth man, 39-year-old Taleb Bapir (bottom right) of Verdon Street, Burngreave, was found guilty of rape.
The verdicts reached by the jury on Monday could not be reported until today (Wednesday 22 March) for legal reasons.
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.”
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.