Black Country child abuser jailed for life for rape of teenage runaway
A HALESOWEN man who raped a 14-year-old runaway has been jailed for life.
The boy had been ‘sold into prostitution’ after running away from a children’s home, a court was told.
Alan Priest, who carried out the sex attacks in his caravan, was among a gang of nine men convicted after a three-month trial at Warwick Crown Court.
Another man, Cradley Heath bus driver Ian Prestleton, 54, of High Haddon Road, was found guilty of sexual activity with a child, he was jailed for three years.
The boy had been ‘picked up’ by another member of the gang at New Street station in Birmingham after running away from the home.
As she jailed the men for a total of more than 68 years, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said: “Like many teenagers, he did not like being in care, and got into the habit of running away from care homes; and one of the reasons he was able to do that and stay away and support himself was because of his connection with many of you.”
She added: “He effectively started to work as a prostitute catering for the desires of mainly gay and older men knowing he only agreed to have sex with them because they paid for it, and knowing he was too young to have sex with anyone.”
The court heard Priest, aged 63, of Haywood Bridge, carried out the attacks in 2010 and 2011, he was found guilty of rape and sexual activity with a child.
He was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of seven years before he can apply for parole after the judge was told he had previous convictions for sexually abusing teenage boys in 2004 and 2012.
His then boyfriend, Ashley Sherrington, aged 24, of Stoke-on-Trent, was found guilty of rape and jailed for nine years.
JUDGE Sylvia de Bertodano slammed the police for not properly investigating the victim’s allegations when he first reported the abuse.
She said: “These are tragic examples of how vulnerable children have been let down by the authorities over the years.
“He complained to the police very early on, before he met many of you who sit in the dock now, but his complaints were not followed up.
She added: “The result was that he was sent to a secure care home, which he hated; and he felt not only powerless and unsupported, but aggrieved and confused that when he complained about your behaviour, he was the one who was locked up while those who abused him remained free.”