11 Apr Two men jailed for rape of 12-year-old
Two men have been jailed for a total of 15 years after being found guilty of raping a 12-year-old girl in Watford.
Tommy Connors, aged 21, and Patrick Brooks, aged 22, were found to have arranged to meet and have sex with the girl. She was under the legal age of consent and also was considered vulnerable by police.
Concerns were raised with police after sexualised messages were found on the girl’s mobile phone.
A subsequent police investigation found that the men had initially made contact with the girl via social media. They had then messaged the girl and arranged to meet her for sex in January 2015, travelling in from outside Hertfordshire.
Connors, formerly of Layhams Road, Bromley, Kent, and Brooks, previously of Oak Lane, Billericay, Essex, were found guilty on Thursday (April 5) at St Albans Crown Court. They were sentenced to eight years and seven years in prison respectively the following day (Friday April 6).
An NSPCC spokesperson said:
“Brooks and Connors groomed a vulnerable young girl online for the sole purpose of sickeningly abusing her for their own twisted pleasure.
“It is far too easy for groomers to contact children through social media and enough is enough.
“The time has come for the Government to finally act and force social media companies to use technology to flag up grooming behaviour to moderators and warn children before they are abused.
The matter was investigated by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Halo unit, which specialises in tackling child sexual exploitation.