Care home staff took no action while woman groomed girls aged 11 for sex

Amanda Spencer was 15 when she started targeting children in the centre of Sheffield

A young woman who befriended and groomed girls as young as 11 before forcing them to have paid sex with dozens of men was facing jail last night for a host of child-prostitution offences, five years after care staff were first told about her crimes.

Amanda Spencer, 23, convicted of 16 offences against five girls, was 15 when she began targeting children she met in the centre of Sheffield.

They were offered false affection, drugs and alcohol then bullied and threatened into sexual encounters with white and Asian men.

Ordered by Spencer to wear provocative clothes and make-up, the victims were taken to “parties” in houses and to public toilets and parks across the city.

At one address, a child was ordered to have sex with six Kurdish asylum seekers, one after the other. When the 15-year-old said she did not want to sleep with a seventh man, she was punched into submission.

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Michelle Colborne QC, for the prosecution, said during a two-month trial at Sheffield crown court that girls from troubled backgrounds, often lacking self-esteem, were initially encouraged to think of Spencer as “a shoulder to cry on”, but later they became entrenched in degradation and abuse from which “they were unable to extricate themselves”. The Times has seen a confidential South Yorkshire police report which shows that Spencer’s pimping and exploitation of children was known to care workers as long ago as June 2009, when a 14-year-old revealed that she had been “forced to have sex with an Asian male”.

Staff at her children’s home recorded that the girl, in care since the age of seven, said she was “very frightened of Amanda and had sex with the male as Spencer said she would assault her if she did not”.

The 2010 internal police report said that the girl told care home staff that men often approached her for sex because Spencer “has told everyone she is for sale”.

As a result, the child was “engaging in sexual favours with Asian males for £10”.

By August 2010, police had intelligence “that Spencer had taken [the girl], now aged 15, to Doncaster to a group of Asian men who were expecting to have sex with her”.

She was one of five girls whose treatment led to Spencer being found guilty of 14 offences of arranging, causing or inciting the prostitution of five girls between 2006 and 2011. Four of those counts, including an offence committed in October 2010, involved the child who first confided in residential staff in June 2009. After one encounter in which, while asleep, her clothing was removed and she was indecently touch-ed by 65-year-old Ian Foster, the victim, now aged 19, said that she wanted to “give up on my life”. On another occasion, after being forced to sleep with three men in one night, she said she went to school the next day “still feeling drunk”.

Spencer, from Rotherham, who also came from a troubled background and spent her childhood in care, used the money that she earned from selling the children to feed her drug addiction.

She denied 38 charges linked to the abuse of nine girls.

She was found not guilty of eight offences and the jury was discharged yesterday after failing to reach verdicts on the remaining 14 counts, involving four girls.

Five Sheffield men also stood trial for offences linked to the abuse.

Kareem Ahmed, 30, was jointly accused with Spencer of internal trafficking. Both were found not guilty.

Foster, now aged 68, was convicted of three sexual assaults on victims aged 11, 14 and 20, but was cleared of raping an 11-year-old.

Bashdar Hamadamin, 27, was acquitted of rape and Lee Unwin, 27, found not guilty of paying for the sexual services of a child. John McLachlan, 66, charged with the same offence, died during the trial.

Spencer will be sentenced on Tuesday.

See also report and photos at The Mail.

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