Jail for man who raped 12-year-old girl

A 25-year-old man who was found guilty of raping a 12-year-old girl in Rotherham has been sent to prison for eight years.

Brett Ashley McLaughlan, formerly of Lister Avenue, Rawmarsh, appeared before Sheffield Crown Court today (Friday 5 January) to be sentenced.

McLaughlan was found guilty of rape following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court in October in 2017. He was jailed for eight years today. He was also handed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

His co-accused, 20-year-old Ben Chivers, was jailed for ten years in November 2017 after pleading guilty to multiple child sexual offences against three victims.

The court heard how McLaughlan raped his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in Rotherham in 2015.

Temporary Detective Sergeant Gareth Gent said: “While we have been able to demonstrate that Chivers targeted and groomed young girls on social media, his friend McLaughlan played an active role in this child’s abuse and he was found guilty of rape last year.

“This is an incredibly serious sexual offence that has a devastating impact on the victim's life. The fact that he committed this appalling crime against a girl of only 12-years-old is horrifying and quite rightly, he is now behind bars for a lengthy period of time.

“This girl has shown remarkable bravery, firstly in coming forward and then throughout the joint investigation into her abuse, whilst being supported by Barnardo’s during the process.

“McLaughlan refused to accept responsibility for his sexual offending, meaning his victim had to endure a painful trial process.

“I hope this sentence offers his victim some small reassurance that her abusers are both now behind bars where they can cause no further harm.

“I also hope it reassures the wider community of our relentless pursuit of justice for victims of sexual offences and child sexual exploitation – we urge anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse or exploitation to contact police or a support agency so we can help.”

Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children’s Services at Rotherham Council said: “We welcome the sentence handed out today and commend the victim for coming forward. This is a truly despicable crime. This man has raped a 12-year-old girl and then put her through further heartache with this trial.

“I hope that this conviction now helps her to help recover from this ordeal and confine this horrific abuse to the past.

“Rotherham is no hiding place for evil and through our partnership working with both South Yorkshire Police and Barnardo’s we will support victims like this to help them bring their perpetrators to justice.”

Please remember victims of sexual offences are guaranteed lifelong anonymity under the Sexual Offences Act. Anyone who identifies a victim, or who posts information about a victim that could lead to them being identified, is breaking the law.

More information about child sexual exploitation can be found on the South Yorkshire Police website here: www.southyorks.police.uk/spotthesigns.

Anyone with concerns about a child can call police on 101, or call/text the national helpline Say Something on 116 000.

The NSPCC also has 24/7 help available by calling 0808 800 5000 or emailing help@nspcc.org.uk.