Prestatyn: 'Sick and depraved' rapists subjected young girl to 'indescribable misery'

Michael Stewart (L) and Matthew Penny (R) were described as "depraved" and "dangerous" Credit: North Wales Police

A young girl was subjected to "virtually indescribable suffering and misery" at the hands of a man who raped her and loaned her to other men.

Michael Stewart, 41, degraded and humiliated her and treated her in an "utterly horrific way" between the ages of ten and 16, Mold Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Anna Pope said Stewart raped and abused the girl who cannot be named to protect her identity, and subjected her to other humiliating acts.

He also covertly filmed her. The court heard he "loaned" her out and Ms Pope said: "He gained sexual pleasure by watching her being raped by strangers and raping her himself."

The court heard he sent images of his crimes against her to others - one of whom was 44-year-old Matthew Penny.

Michael Stewart sent images of his crimes to others Credit: North Wales Police

The court heard Stewart brought the girl to two meetings with Penny in Conwy and in Prestatyn, where she was raped by both men.

The two men were jailed for the "depraved" acts at Mold Crown Court

Penny, of no fixed address, was jailed at Mold Crown Court for 20 years for raping a child under 13. He cannot apply for parole until he has served two thirds of the term.

The court heard the National Crime Agency told North Wales Police about two Kik app accounts. Officers found Penny had uploaded videos and images of child sexual abuse to the app.

There was a link to Stewart and officers visited Stewart's North Wales home on November 9 last year.

Penny was jailed for 20 years Credit: North Wales Police

Later they found the girl who said she had been sexually abused.

Ms Pope said Stewart's phone contained Penny's number under the name "Rich". Stewart claimed "Rich" had been blackmailing him into abusing the girl by threatening to release incriminating material - a theory the prosecution rejected.

In a victim statement, the girl said she felt the abuse was her fault. She suffers nightmares and the effects of the abuse affected her school work.

  • 'He poses a high risk of harm to children'

Simon Rogers, defending Stewart, said it was the first time he had been prosecuted for having contact with an underaged girl. Mr Rogers accepted his client poses a high risk of harm to children.

Simon Killeen, defending Penny, said until his client was 42, he had never committed any offence.

The judge His Honour Timothy Petts said the girl had endured "virtually indescribable suffering and misery" and the effects of what she went through would have been "devastating and life changing".

He said the victim must also have felt "sickening fear" when being driven to be raped by Penny.

Describing Stewart as "callous", and the last resort of a life sentence is "thoroughly merited" due to the seriousness of the crimes.

He jailed him for life for raping a girl under 13 with a minimum of 16 years before he is eligible to apply for parole.

He also gave him concurrent sentences ranging from ten years to three months for other offences.

The judge praised the police, crime agencies, prosecution and defence teams for their diligence in bringing the offenders to justice.

  • "This has been a harrowing and complex case"

DC Emma Faulkner from North Wales Police's Protection of Vulnerable People Unit (PVPU) said: "This has been a harrowing and complex case for all involved; we have worked tirelessly for today’s sentencing.

"We must recognise that at the centre of this case is a young woman whose courage and integrity have brought two depraved and dangerous men to justice and we are extremely grateful for her support. We will continue to vigorously pursue perpetrators like Stewart and Penny and encourage anyone who is subject to such abuse to contact us.

"You will be believed, and your information will be treated in the utmost confidence."

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