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“However good the force’s intentions, their misguided actions run entirely counter to all current child protection procedures and what we know about sex offenders and could have compromised this investigation.” The head of Northumbria Police said that although the decision to recruit XY would seem “morally repugnant to some”, he would do the same again to gather vital evidence on defendants who were later convicted.
Courts heard girls were groomed by men who gave them cannabis, alcohol and speed-like mephedrone at parties, then encouraged into having sex.
He told an abuse of process hearing that police tasked him “to find out what was going on in the area, when parties were taking place, where there was criminal activity”.
“There were certain individuals they were very interested in, which I was close to,” he said.
Describing him as a “convicted child rapist who drugged a child and invited someone else to rape her after he had”, he said XY was subject to a suspended sentence when he was deployed by police in 2014.
Mr Patton said police claimed they carried out a risk assessment, but that the “very next day” after he was recruited, XY was in court for failing to tell police he had moved house – one of the conditions imposed as a registered sex offender.
The probe was launched in 2014 just weeks after a woman and a girl, who did not know each other, reported similar accounts of abuse taking place in the West End of Newcastle.
The police and the council brought together a team of social workers, police officers and specialists for the case, which has also seen 25 taxi drivers’ licences suspended or revoked, licensing applications being screened by the police and taxi drivers, door staff and housing inspectors trained to spot exploitation.
These pictures were hacked from their phones where they found their most personal photos, naked pics, masturbating videos, sextape, underwear and lingerie.
Juries at five separate trials related to the case heard how the men would often threaten their victims with violence if they did not take part in sexual activity with them, while others were assaulted when they were incapacitated and unable to resist.
Jim Hope, from the CPS, said the gang “systematically groomed and abused vulnerable teenage girls and young women for their own sexual gratification”.
“These prosecutions would not have been possible without the bravery shown by the victims and the courage they showed in giving their evidence of what had happened to them,” he added.
“The impact of the abuse these young women suffered has been profound but I hope these convictions can offer them some comfort and help them move forward.” Several members of the gang have already been jailed and the remaining defendants are expected to be sentenced in September.