December 2017: Has now been released
Odd-job man gets nine years for raping schoolgirl, 14, in Hull park after they shared WhatsApp messages
A sexual “predator” who lured a schoolgirl with promises of cigarettes before raping her in a Hull park has been jailed.
Danny MacMillan, 36, denied raping and sexually assaulting the 14-year-old girl, who was wearing her school uniform, in St George’s Recreation Ground, off Gordon Street, west Hull.
But after two-and-a-half hours of deliberation yesterday, majority verdicts were returned by the jury and MacMillan, a garage odd-job worker, was convicted of two counts of sexual assault and one of rape.
MacMillan, of Waterloo Street, Hull, showed no emotion as Judge Simon Jack summarised the words of the victim from a DVD, in which she stated she was left scared of the dark and even the mention of the word “rape”.
Members of the jury, which comprised ten women and two men, put their hands to their mouths as they learned the girl had begun to self-harm as a result of her ordeal.
Judge Jack said: “This has impacted on almost every aspect of her life. She has lost her trust in people generally.
“She is afraid of going out after dark. She doesn’t like to go to her friends’ homes any more.
“Her family are very wary around her – they don’t want to upset her.
“Her mum is now very protective of her. The family struggle to have a joke with her. She suffers mood swings.
“If the word ‘rape’ is mentioned, it has a very bad effect on her.”
During the four-day trial at Hull Crown Court, jurors heard MacMillan used to buy cigarettes for the girl and her friend.
Prosecutor Martin Sharpe said the attack happened when MacMillan met the victim on her own for the first time.
MacMillan had claimed the girl had messaged him pictures of her breasts, but no phone evidence was presented during the trial.
He told the jury the girl had performed a sex act on him after leading him into some bushes in the park.
MacMillan, whose DNA was found on the inside and outside of the girl’s trousers, had described his encouragement of the act as a “moment of madness”.
He had told the court he knew the girl was below the age of sexual consent, but was unsure exactly how old she was.
MacMillan had communicated with the victim using WhatsApp – a texting app popular with teenagers.
Jailing him for nine years, Judge Jack told him: “You preyed on a young girl. You offered to do favours for her by getting cigarettes in the hope that you got her in a position that you could do something to her.
“And that’s exactly what you did on November 13, 2012.
“She agreed to meet you hoping that you would provide her with some cigarettes.
“Unfortunately, she turned up on her own.”
Judge Jack said the “starting point” for sentencing for rape against a child of the victim’s age was eight years.
However, he agreed with the prosecution’s case that there were several aggravating features that increased the severity of MacMillan’s crime, including the two sexual assaults that happened moments before the rape.
Outside court, Detective Constable Rob Milner, who led the investigation, praised the victim and her family for their bravery.
He said: “She is a young, impressionable girl who has gone through a very traumatic experience, but she had the courage to come forward and made a very early disclosure about what had happened.
“MacMillan is clearly a predator who has used social media to groom her with offers of cigarettes.
“She has trusted him and he has abused that position.”
MacMillan was told by Judge Jack he would serve a “very substantial” proportion of his sentence before he was eligible for release on licence.
He had two previous convictions for public order offences, but nothing of a sexual nature.
MacMillon will be required to sign the sexual offenders’ register for life.