February 2012

Teenage paedophile who groomed up to 139 girls as young as 11 on Facebook has sentence REDUCED by top judges

A teenage paedophile whose gang may have sexually abused more than 139 under-age girls has had his sentence reduced by three years.

Jake Ormerod used social networking websites including Facebook to groom his victims before luring them back to his squalid home in Torquay, Devon.

He has now had his jail term cut from 10 years to seven by judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court.

Ormerod was described as ‘childlike’ by his barrister despite him molesting his victims after luring them to his house.

The original judge, Philip Wassall, said Ormerod had shown a ‘callous disregard’ for the health and well being of his vulnerable victims – many of whom had no previous sexual experience.

Describing the ten year tariff as ‘excessive’ Ormerod was told he would be released after serving half of the seven year jail term.

The 19-year-old would hang around school gates in the seaside resort town where he lived, often targeting vulnerable girls as young as 11.

He gave his victims alcohol and drugs before sexually assaulting them.

Police said they had evidence the paedophile and his friends had abused as many as 139 youngsters, but warned that figure could be even greater. 

When Ormerod’s horrific acts were first discovered, a warning letter was sent to 16,000 parents at 14 schools, which sparked fears that a massive paedophile ring was operating in the Torbay area of South Devon.

Shortly afterwards, police arrested Ormerod, who admitted 13 charges of sexual assault against nine girls.

He said police expected to  make more arrests over the investigation, with up to ten more men being sought in connection with the abuse.

Exeter Crown Court heard that he brought the girls back to his ‘filthy’ house, where he lived in disgusting conditions and never used protection when having sex.

Andrew Macfarlane, prosecuting, said many of the girls were encouraged to shoplift to keep him supplied with alcohol and were initially attracted by his ‘bad boy’ image.’

‘The house was described as disgusting with broken furniture everywhere. There was no toilet roll,’ he added. 

 Mr Macfarlane read accounts from some of Ormerod’s victims which described how he had sex with them against their will and said it was common practice for the defendant to ply the girls with so much alcohol that they became ‘completely intoxicated’. 

Unemployed Ormerod, of Torquay, Devon, was arrested in February last year after social services and police learned a number of young girls had been sexually assaulted.

Over 16,000 letters were sent to parents in the area as officers feared a network of paedophiles was operating in the area.

Ormerod and his friends were seen loitering on the streets waiting to prey on vulnerable children both at school and in public, who they would approach them and groom for sex.

Upon sentencing Judge Wassall accused him of using drink and drugs to lower his victims’ resistance, leaving some ‘so stupefied they did not find out until later that you had had sexual intercourse with them’. 

Ormerod, who is now 20, was sent to a young offenders’ institution.

Squalor: Ormerod lured victims to his home, which was often without electricity

His defence lawyer Paul Dentith, in mitigation, said the teenager was not a ‘predatory paedophile’.

He said: ‘He is not the Pied Piper of Torquay. Intellectually they were his equals, his friends, his peers.’

But Detective Inspector Simon Snell, who heads up the Force’s Child Exploitation Unit for Devon and Cornwall police said after sentencing that  Ormerod was a ‘sexual predator’ who preyed on the vulnerable.

He said: ‘Ormerod is extremely dangerous. He has done a lot of damage. 

‘Some of these girls attempted suicide. It has made them ill, it affected them both physically and mentally. 

‘It is important to say that this is not a group of teenagers having a bit of fun. It is sexual activity with children. Ormerod’s assaults were not far short of rape.’

‘Make no mistake, Jake Ormerod is not a trivial offender. He has been sentenced for serious and disturbing crimes.

Filthy: The paedophile had also attacked a girl at home in front of his mother, the court heard

‘He would prey on young, vulnerable girls, many of whom were frequently missing from home and he would then commit sexual offences against them, often while they were drunk or under the influence of alcohol and cannabis. 

‘He used classic grooming behaviour to make the victim feel as if they are in love with the offender – he then abused them. He is a predatory sexual offender who took advantage of young girls who were vulnerable.

‘Ormerod knows that when he did was wrong and I must give him credit for pleading guilty and therefore avoiding a harrowing court experience for his victims.’ 

DI Snell confirmed that Ormerod was not the only offender involved and his crimes were only a ‘snapshot of the truth.’

The news that a paedophile ring was at work in the holiday resort area of Torbay did not so much leak out as blast forth in February.

Officers working on Operation Mansfield took the extraordinary step of sending letters to the parents of 16,000 schoolchildren in the area, which includes the towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, as well as parts of the neighbouring district of Teignbridge.

The letter told parents that the investigation was under way and attempted to reassure them. In reality, it seemed to make matters worse for many of them as they feared their children might be involved.