‘Woman forced kids into vice’

Facing child exploitation charges at Sheffield Crown Court
Facing child exploitation charges at Sheffield Crown Court

Vulnerable girls as young as 11 were befriended in Sheffield by a woman who plied them with drugs and drink - then lured them into prostitution, a court was told.

Amanda Spencer, now aged 22, was only 14 herself when she started running a ‘pool of prostitutes’ for drugs money rather than selling her own body, it is alleged.

Amanda Spencer at Sheffield Crown Court

Amanda Spencer at Sheffield Crown Court

She introduced the girls to men at locations across Sheffield, including the Peace Gardens and Castle Market, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

She and five men are accused of a total of 46 child sexual exploitation offences between 2006 and 2011, against nine victims aged between 11 and 20.

Michelle Colborne QC, prosecuting, said Spencer had grown up in the care system. “Exploiter or exploited?” she asked jurors.

“A likely issue for you to consider is whether Amanda Spencer was a victim herself - whether, having had a troubled start, she turned that on its head and lured others into a similar life for her own ends?

“The prosecution say a victim of exploitation would have known how degrading and abusive that life was.

“She would have spotted the inevitable vulnerabilities of youngsters like herself and known that, by introducing them to drugs and alcohol, to men for sexual favours, she was introducing them to the same degradation and abuse.”

Miss Colborne said Spencer was a ‘fraud’ who hung around Sheffield city centre singling out children.

“She gave them a shoulder to cry on, was a friend who purported to understand,” she said. “In turn she lured them into abuse, which she profited from.”

The prosecution said Spencer was initially kind to the girls - but turned nasty.

“She told them how to dress more provocatively, lie about their ages and to close their minds to the sexual experiences,” she said.

“Those who had the temerity to refuse felt her wrath. She was violent, and they were frightened of her.”

Miss Colborne said many of the victims were in care or had run away from home.

Spencer, of Canklow Road, Canklow, Rotherham, denies 38 charges, including arranging a child sex offence, inciting a child to become a prostitute, and arranging or facilitating prostitution.

Lee Unwin, 27, of Nether Green Road, Nether Green; John McLachlan, 66, of Downham Road, Firth Park; Kareen Ahmed, 30, of Manor Park Centre, Manor; Bashdar Hamadamin, 27, of Rock Street, Burngreave, and a 68-year-old man who cannot be named are all charged in relation to the abuse of girls.

All the defendants deny all the charges.

The trial continues.