Sheffield child sex trial: Woman who became pimp at 15 guilty on 14 charges

Amanda Spencer at Sheffield Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Amanda Spencer at Sheffield Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A YOUNG woman who started ‘pimping out’ vulnerable underage girls for prostitution from the age of just 15 has been found guilty in Sheffield of 14 charges.

Amanda Spencer, 23, is accused of exploiting nine girls – some as young as 11 and most in the care system – before forcing them into a life of alcohol, drugs and sex.

Spencer made the girls have sex with men in flats around Sheffield, as well as in the city’s Castle Markets, and the toilets of nearby McDonald’s and KFC restaurants between 2006 and 2011.

Following a six-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court – and almost 21 hours of jury deliberation – Spencer was found guilty of 12 counts of arranging or facilitating child prostitution and two counts of causing or inciting child prostitution today.

She was cleared of one count of arranging or facilitating child prostitution.

Jurors are still deliberating on 23 charges against her.

Opening the case previously, Michelle Colborne, prosecuting, told the court Spencer would tell the girls to lie about their age and dress provocatively.

She would then pocket the cash earned by the girls, seeing it as “far more productive and profitable to co-ordinate a pool of prostitutes, than to work for drug money all by herself”.

Miss Colborne said: “Many of the victims in this case were in the care system or marked as ‘missing from home’ at the relevant time, those still at home experiencing difficulties to varying degrees.

“All were lacking in self-esteem and the wherewithal or sense to protect themselves from exploitation.”

She added: “Amanda Spencer was a fraud, say the prosecution. She hung around the town centre identifying and befriending vulnerable children.

“She made them feel loved, she gave them a shoulder to cry on, a friend who purported to understand whatever sadness they were experiencing in their lives and in turn lured them into a life of abuse, which she exploited and profited from.

“She referred to them as her sisters or cousins when asked to account for who they were by people in authority.

“Although the children knew they were being sold for cash, their own drug and alcohol addiction sere so entrenched that they were incapable to extricate themselves.

“She told them how to dress more provocatively, to lie about their age and to close their minds to the reality of the sexual experiences, concentrating instead on the drugs.

“Those who had the temerity to refuse to do as they were instructed felt her wrath. She was violent and they were frightened of her.”

One of Spencer’s alleged victims – who was just 14-years-old at the time – said she liked Spencer when they first met, and they would drink and take drugs together.

But she said Spencer quickly became controlling and would threaten to hurt her if she did not do as she was told.

She said that, at least twice, Spencer made her have sex with men in the KFC toilets in Sheffield.

Another time they were in McDonald’s in Sheffield city centre when Spencer made her have sex with a man in the toilets.

“I was sick of her getting angry if I didn’t do anything,” the girl said.

Asked how it made her feel she said: “Dirty, ashamed, sick.”

Describing Spencer’s attitude, she said: “One minute she was my friend, the next she was my worst enemy.”

The girl said if she refused to have sex with the men, Spencer would “kick off”.

“She threatened to do me in loads of times,” she added.

Spencer denies a string of charges, including arranging or facilitating a child sexual offence, inciting or causing a child to become a prostitute and arranging or facilitating the prostitution.

She is on trial alongside four men who are charged with offences connected with the alleged abuse of the girls – who ranged from the ages of 11 and 20.

Lee Unwin, 27, denies paying for the sexual service of a child.

Kareem Ahmed, 30, is accused of arranging or facilitating travel for the commission of a sexual offence, and Bashdar Hamadamin, 26, faces a charge of rape. They deny the charges.

John McLachlan, 65, who was accused of paying for the sexual services of a child, died midway through the trial.

A fifth man, who cannot be named, denies three counts of sexual assault, one on a child under the age of 13.

The deliberations continue.