23-year-old on trial for Sheffield child prostitution offences is 'truthful' man, court told
A 23-year-old on trial for child prostitution offences in Sheffield is a 'truthful' man who has never forced young girls to have sex with him or others, a court heard.
During her closing speech today, Christopher Whiteley's defence barrister Amanda Denton told Sheffield Crown Court that the version of events the 23-year-old, of Weakland Crescent, Hackenthorpe had given to police had been proven to be correct a number of times throughout the trial.
Whiteley faces 14 charges relating to the alleged rape and sexual assault of four teenage girls, and the conspiracy to rape and arrange child prostitution of another, all of which he denies.
The complainants were aged between 12 and 16 at the time of the alleged offences. Whiteley was aged 13 at the time of the first alleged offence, and was 16-years-old at the time of the final one
Ms Denton called into question the validity of the evidence provided by his victims, none of whom can be named for legal reasons.
She told the court that Girl D, who Whiteley is alleged to have raped on at least four occasions, had given different accounts of what happened with Whiteley when speaking to police and under cross-examination in the trial.
Addressing the jury, she said: "Under interview when asked how often it was just you and him [Christopher Whiteley], she said 'not very many, maybe once or twice'.
"How does that sit with what you have on your indictment," continued Ms Denton, referring to the four counts of rape.
Whiteley, along with his brothers Shane Whiteley, 30, and Matthew Whiteley, 24, both of Weakland Crescent, Hackenthorpe and his best friend Andres Edge, 25 of Wheatley Road, Parson Cross is alleged to have pimped out Girl C to around 30 men in the space of five weeks in 2009.
Ms Denton reiterated evidence given to the court from Girl A's mother who said that in 2009, even she found it difficult to tell when her daughter was telling the truth due to her propensity for lying at that time.
It is alleged that Whiteley met all four of his victims either at, or through people he spent time with at Castle Markets in Sheffield City Centre, where he would go when he was truanting from school from 2007 onwards.
When Whiteley gave evidence during the trial last week, the court was told how Whiteley was convicted of two sexual assaults when he was 13-years-old, committed months before the first alleged offence in this trial.
Under cross-examination, Whiteley referred to the offences as both being a 'mistake' and a bit of 'messing around'. Mr Hampton told Whiteley it was getting into trouble for sexual offences carried out against adults, that made him turn to girls his own age.
He said: "You realised that touching adult women in the street and sexually assaulting them got you into trouble, and that's why shortly after these offences you turned your attention to girls your own age or younger."
Whiteley responded by saying 'no'.
Mr Hampton continued: "Because they are less likely to complain, they are more scared, they are easier to intimidate."
Whiteley is one of six defendants on trial for 42 offences carried out against nine alleged victims in Sheffield between 2005 and 2012.
The defendants deny all charges.
The trial continues.