February 2022

Man jailed for 25 years after using dating apps to sexually exploit teenagers

A man sexually exploited seven teenage girls online by offering “sugar daddy” experiences, a court heard

John Bancroft, 68, of Chestnut Avenue, Buckhurst Hill used dating apps such as MyLol to make fake accounts and offer “sugar daddy” arrangements with teenage girls aged between 13 and 18 years old from 2016 to 2017.

He would lie about his age and specifically target vulnerable girls in order to manipulate them.

His brother Graham Manicom, 62, also pleaded guilty to joining him on two occasions in hotel rooms to sexually exploit the vulnerable victims

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how when Bancroft did receive a reply from a victim he swiftly moved the conversation to WhatsApp, sending up to 100 messages a day.

Some of the victims subsequently met Bancroft and in return for money, gifts or food they were expected to pander to his sexual demands which included group sex and sado-masochistic acts.

He would take the victims to various hotels around the country, sometimes staying overnight.

He would also drive them to remote areas for sex or take them to his home address.

Bancroft even took indecent images of the girls and shared them on messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

He would send explicit photos of himself and persuaded the victims to do the same in return.

The brothers came to the attention of police when one of the victim’s sisters grew suspicious of someone she was speaking to online and reported it.

Bancroft was found guilty on Monday, December 13 of four counts of rape, meeting a child following sexual grooming, paying for the sexual services of a child, attempting, causing or inciting the sexual exploitation of a child and attempting sexual communication with a child.

It followed a seven-week trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

A month before the trial, Bancroft pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm against a child during sexual activity and 14 counts of taking, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

In the second week of the trial, Bancroft pleaded guilty to a further 15 offences. These included paying for the sexual services of a child, causing or inciting the sexual exploitation of a child and attempted sexual communication with a child.

In the third week of the trial, his brother, Graham Manicom, 62, of Hyde Mead, Waltham Abbey, Essex, pleaded guilty to two counts of paying for the sexual services of a child.

Bancroft’s 25 year extended sentence was due to the court’s assessment that he poses a significant risk of serious harm to the public.

His brother Graham Manicom was jailed for four years.