Three brothers involved in a Sheffield child prostitution ring, who were today sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison, used a council flat to prostitute a vulnerable teenage girl to dozens of men.
Shane Whiteley, 30, Matthew Whiteley, 25, and Christopher Whiteley, 24, all of Weakland Crescent, Hackenthorpe, were all found guilty of one charge of child prostitution last month, relating to a girl who was aged between 16 and 17-years-old at the time.
Shane had only been out of prison for a matter of weeks in January 2009 when he started running a business dealing drugs from a council flat in Victoria Court, West Street that he had been allocated on release.
The court heard how Shane used his brothers and co-defendants, Matthew and Christopher, to drum up trade for the cannabis business through the young people they mixed with at Castle Markets.
During this morning's sentencing, Judge Kelson QC told the court that it was through this cannabis business that Girl C, who suffers from learning difficulties, 'was unfortunate enough to fall into [the Whiteleys] web'.
He said: "She was a deeply vulnerable person. She was cynically groomed by all three of you. She was cynically exploited.
"She was prostituted out by you for many nights over several weeks."
The court was told how Girl C, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was initially drawn into their 'web' through the affection they showed her. The girl told her mother that she regarded Shane to be 'like a brother' to her, and that she believed he 'would not let anything happen to her'.
Giving evidence during the seven week long trial, Girl C's mother explained how on one occasion Christopher Whiteley told her 'she [Girl C] is with us now' when he interrupted them during a conversation they were having outside a Youth Offending Service office.
"Those words demonstrate your complete domination of this child; you took advantage of her, you decided she was ripe for exploitation and so you took her away from those who truly loved her," said Judge Kelson, adding: "With those callous words spoken to the child's own mother we glimpse your wickedness."
Girl C estimates that during the period that the Whiteleys prostituted her, she was forced to have sex with between 30 and 40 men and that the Whiteleys charged £50 on each occasion.
The girl was prostituted both from Shane's city centre council flat, and from the red light district of the city where the Whitleys were seen with her by police on more than one occasion.
Judge Kelson said: "The three of you ruthlessly sexually exploited Girl C, an exceptionally vulnerable person, over a period of weeks by prostituting her on numerous occasions."
He added: "£1,500 to £2,000 on Girl C's own estimate was made in just a few weeks.
"Also there was an element of grooming revolving around cannabis; also the police and other evidence shows, in my view, there was significant involvement in limiting Girl C's freedom."
Shane was sentenced to eight years in prison today for his role in the prostituting of Girl C, while Matthew and Christopher were sentenced to seven years each.
Christopher was sentenced to a further eight years for other offences including four counts of rape and two of sexual assault on girls aged between 12 and 14-years-old.
As the sentences were delivered, Shane Whiteley repeatedly shouted 'justice is corrupt'.
A number of people sitting in the public gallery also shouted: 'Shane's innocent'.
The Whiteleys other co-defendants Amanda Spencer and Taleb Bapir were also sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court today.
Spencer, previously of Canklow Road, Canklow, Rotherham was sentenced to a further three years in prison for four child prostitution offences. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2014 for 16 child prostitution offences.
Judge Kelson handed her a consecutive sentence, bringing her total prison term to 15 years.
Bapir, of Verdon Street, Neepsend was sentenced to 10 years in prison for one count of rape.