A 25-year-old South Yorkshire man has been put behind bars, after he was found guilty of raping a 12-year-old girl.
During a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court this afternoon, Judge Michael Slater sentenced Brett McLaughlan to seven-years in prison, with an extended license period of a year.
McLaughlan, of Lister Avenue, Rawmarsh was found guilty of the offence, that was carried out in Rotherham in April 2015 when he was 22-years-old, following a trial that concluded in October last year.
Matthew Burdon, defending, told the court that McLaughlan still did not accept that he had committed the offence, and so could not be said to show any remorse for his actions.
Recalling evidence from the trial, prosecutor, Anthony Dunne, told the court how McLaughlan raped the young girl after she tried to help him when he became intoxicated from 'taking some sort of drug'.
He said: "She had assisted him for several hours and it's that assistance that provides the background to this offence taking place."
The court was told how the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told McLaughlan 'no' several times while he was committing the offence.
Judge Michael Slater told McLaughlan: "I accept that you have learning difficulties and adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder...but it seems to me that such disabilities do not prevent you from knowing the difference between right and wrong, and the difference between a girl saying: 'yes,' and a girl saying: 'no'."
In addition to his custodial sentence, Judge Slater also made McLaughlan the subject of a sexual harm prevention order which will remain in place until another order is made by the courts.
At the beginning of McLaughlin's trial, his co-accused, Ben Chivers, pleaded guilty to multiple child sexual offences against three victims.
The 20-year-old was jailed for 10-years in November last year.
The court heard how in April 2015, Chivers and McLaughlan deliberately targeted their victims, all girls under the age of 15, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Chivers befriended them online and arranged to meet them, before going on to commit sexual offences against the girls.
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 victims’ 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 significant 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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.