Dec 2003

Pimp put a child in hell

A NEWPORT pimp who forced a child to work as a prostitute, injected her with heroin, abducted and raped her, yesterday received two life sentences.

Benjamin Johnson, 39, introduced the young girl to heroin so he could persuade her into prostitution when she was just 13 or 14.

At Newport crown court Judge Philip Richards ruled that Johnson must serve at least seven years in custody before a parole board can consider his release.

A jury of seven men and five women yesterday found Johnson guilty of two charges of supplying the girl, now aged 15, with heroin, procuring her to become a prostitute, living off her earnings as a prostitute, abducting and raping her.

They also found him guilty of raping another woman and living off her earnings.

Judge Richards said Johnson, of Daniel Place, Pill, Newport, was extremely dangerous to young women.

He said: “There is no doubt his conduct towards the girl was appalling. He befriended her when she was about 13, at most 14 years of age. “He introduced her in my judgement to Class A drugs.

He supplied her with heroin until she was addicted to that drug and had to continue shoplifting and resort to prostitution in order to fund the defendant.” Johnson was given a life sentence for each count of rape.

To run concurrently with the life sentences, he was given six years for each of the two counts of supplying heroin.

Also to run concurrently, he was given two years for procuring the girl to become a prostitute and two years for child abduction.

For living off the girl’s earnings he was given four years and two years for living off the earnings of the 22-year-old woman – both sentences also to run concurrently with the life terms. After sentencing, the girl’s mother was in tears as she told the Argus: “He is a complete animal. “The scars he has left on my daughter mentally are so severe that no sentence is long enough for him. “My little girl is crushed for the rest of her life. She has been destroyed. He is so sick and he has got his just desserts.”

The girl’s sister, who was also in court for the sentence, branded Johnson an “evil animal”.

She said her sister woke up screaming at night and remained terrified of Johnson.

As the guilty verdicts were read out, Johnson looked down at the floor. Johnson, who had dreadlocks tied back in a long pony tail, then stood up and shouted: “Your honour, there is no way I’m guilty of these charges. I would like to leave the court now.”

He was taken from the dock down to the cells. Judge Richards said Johnson injected the girl with heroin last May when she was 14 before taking her to Cardiff where she had to prostitute herself.

Johnson later took her to a flat in Penarth, near Cardiff, where he lied to her by saying they were locked in by other people.

Judge Richards said: “She demanded to go home and resisted his advances. I’m satisfied she repeatedly said no and ultimately he raped her.”

He said from around her 14th birthday to May of last year, Johnson had lived off her earnings as a prostitute, mainly working around the cattle market in Pill, Newport.

Judge Richards said Johnson had also befriended a 22-year-old woman earlier this year before raping her and living off her earnings as a prostitute.

He said: “I am quite satisfied that in this case there is no injustice in passing a life sentence.”

Johnson, who was banned for life from working with children, must register as a sex offender after being released from prison.

Johnson has 13 previous convictions for offences including rape, grievous bodily harm with intent and theft.

After the sentence, the officer in the case Detective Constable Tracy Williams of Newport Central CID, praised the courage of witnesses. She said: “This case was particularly concerning because Benjamin Johnson has shown that he targeted the young and vulnerable in the hope that their credibility as witnesses would be questioned.

“We are therefore very pleased for the victims in this case that a guilty verdict has been reached.

“Giving evidence in any case can be a frightening thought and I have nothing but praise for all the witnesses for being brave enough to tell others what happened.

“Hopefully, their bravery will prevent a similar thing happening to others and they will be able to continue with their lives free from the fear of this dangerous man.”