England

'Teenager at centre of 12-man sex ring', court hears

Ronald Potter
Image caption Former special constable Ronald Potter is one of 12 defendants on trial at Warwick Crown Court

A boy was "pimped out" on the streets of a red light district in Birmingham as part of a child prostitution ring involving 12 men, a court has heard.

The 14-year-old was exposed to sex, drugs and violence when the offences allegedly began in 2009, while he was in the care of social services.

Warwick Crown Court heard he was subjected to "horrifying behaviour".

Twelve men, aged between 25 and 78, from Coventry, Staffordshire, West Midlands and London, deny 80 charges.

Image caption Michael Godbold denies 12 charges in total
Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Some defendants did not want to reveal their faces as they arrived at court on Tuesday

Updates on this story and more from Birmingham and the Black Country

Prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC told the court, sitting at Leamington Spa, what happened led the boy into a "chaotic lifestyle".

She described him as a vulnerable youngster from a troubled background who had absconded from a care home in the East Midlands for a number of days.

Ms Cottage said the boy was alleged to have been sold "like goods" in the Kent Street area of Birmingham, and described in interviews with police "waiting on the street (with one of the defendants) for men, for business, for money for drugs".

Offences the men face include arranging and facilitating child prostitution, rape and other multiple serious sexual assaults.

Image caption Ian Prestleton denies four charges

Ms Cottage said the alleged offences against the boy were not fully investigated by West Midlands Police when first reported in 2009-10, something she described as "regrettable".

The trial, which is set to last 12 weeks, follows a reopening of the inquiry in 2012 when the claimant, now in his early 20s, was able to alert police to the whereabouts of some of those allegedly involved.

One defendant, Ronald Potter, 78, of Tippers Lane, Fillongley in Coventry, a former special constable with Warwickshire Police, is also accused of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old boy between November 2001 and June 2002.

Image caption The trial of the 12 men is expected to last 12 weeks

The defendants:

Stephen Kelly, Elm Road, Birmingham

Peter Joynes, Canberra Way, Birmingham

Darren Clegg, Hillside Drive, Great Barr, Birmingham

Peter Lowe, Salisbury Close, Birmingham

Ronald Potter, Tippers Lane, Fillongley, Coventry

Ian Prestleton, High Hadden Road, Sandwell

Alan Priest, Bristnall Hall Lane, Oldbury

Ashley Sherrington, Dawlish Drive, Stoke-on-Trent

Michael Godbold, Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush, west London

Tahir Hussain, St Josephs Road, Birmingham

Kevin Tudor, HMP Watton

Robert Bailey, Watt Road, Erdington

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