January 2011

Paedophile who groomed and paid two girls in care for sex has been jailed

A PAEDOPHILE who groomed and paid two girls who were in care for sex – getting them high on lighter fuel and booze – has been jailed.

Andrew Stone, who picked up the teenagers from the “red light district” in Normanton, paid them extra to film him having sex with them.

The 49-year-old, of Chellaston, also had CDs with more than 80 images of “extreme pornography”, which were unrelated to the girls.

His conviction comes only months after the city council was criticised for “missed opportunities” in preventing two other girls in care from being victims of a gang that groomed girls as young as 12.

These men were prosecuted as a result of a massive Derbyshire police investigation dubbed Operation Retriever.

But yesterday, Derby City Council said it had taken a number of measures to protect children in care and the conviction of Stone was a result of the information they had given police.

Derby Crown Court heard that Stone “groomed and corrupted” the girls – who were 14 and 15 at the time – by giving them cigarettes and alcohol over a six-month period. He even washed the clothes of one of them.

Jailing Stone for seven years, Judge Abbas Mithani QC said: “I am repulsed and disgusted by your behaviour.”

He said Stone had preyed on “vulnerable individuals” and that his “predatory behaviour” could have caused substantial harm.

Police found the footage of Stone having sex with the girls at his home in St Peter’s Road when they arrested him last summer.

Council staff had become concerned after seeing one of the girls getting picked up by an older man and an investigation was launched.

In the footage recovered, one of the girls was seen inhaling gas from a canister. She was clearly intoxicated.

“The defendant was clearly encouraging her and made a point of videoing her inhaling the gas,” said Mark Achurch, prosecuting.

In the footage, Stone talked to the girls about payment and at one point appeared to be giving one of them “a pep talk”, the court heard.

Mr Achurch said: “He warns her, ironically, of the risk of dirty perverts.”

On the footage, he reassured her that he was OK but there were perverts out there who would take advantage of her, the court heard.

Stone admitted two charges of sexual activity with a child, two counts of paying for sexual services with a child and two offences of taking indecent photographs of a child.

He also pleaded guilty to four offences of possessing extreme pornographic images.

Keith Raynor, in mitigation, said Stone “had been frank with those in authority”.

He said Stone admitted having sexual activity with each girl a number of times.

Stone must sign the sex offenders’ register and is banned from working with children for life.

A Derby City Council spokesman said: “Derbyshire police and social care have worked closely together on all aspects of this investigation and the information shared was instrumental in the conviction of Andrew Stone.”

He said the council had taken measures to protect children.

He said: “Staff supported the investigation and clearly know the dangers such men pose to the children in care and looked-after children have been made aware of the dangers of sexual exploitation and grooming.

“Children’s individual care plans reflect the level of vulnerability and the level of care required to keep them safe.

“Derby’s safeguarding children board has developed and implemented a sexual exploitation strategy and the success of the partnership working in this case illustrates the benefit of that strategy.”

Sheila Taylor, chief executive of charity Safe and Sound, said Derby was not a hotspot for this type of crime but prosecutions were a result of the proactivity of a dedicated police team and a sexual exploitation organisation.