Man guilty of 17 child sexual abuse offences

Published Friday, 4th May 2018
Sheffield law courts
Sheffield law courts

A 42-year man from Rotherham has been found guilty of 17 child sexual abuse offences and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

As part of the National Crime Agency’s investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in Rotherham.

Tony Chapman, from Lindley Street in Eastwood, admitted 12 charges of indecently assaulting a girl under the age of 16 between February 1998 and January 1999 when he appeared at court on the 17 April.

He was found guilty of five offences against two separate girls including rape, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and threatening to kill following a nine-day trial at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday. The offences took place between October 2013 and May 2015, when the girls were under the age of 16.

Sentencing him today HHJ David Dixon told Chapman was a “very dangerous and callous man who thought he was invincible”, showing “no remorse” for his actions. HHJ Dixon also referred to the complainants saying ”these brave women will be listened to and looked after”.

Operation Stovewood Senior Investigating Officer, Paul Williamson said:

“I have said it before, but the courage of complainants to come forward and re-count their harrowing pasts of abuse should not be underestimated. This is a further case of an adult preying on vulnerable children and without their courage and trust, we would not be able to hold offenders to account for the offences they committed and finally render justice for those affected.

“The evidence we were able to compile against Tony Chapman meant he had no choice but to plead guilty to sexually abusing one of the victims who was a child at the time of offending. Her courage, and that of the two victims who stood in court and courageously gave evidence of what happened to them, means Chapman will no longer pose a threat to other young girls.

“As heard in Court, Chapman has posed a danger to children across generations and the young community of Rotherham will be a lot safer now that justice has been rendered and he is behind bars.

“Our investigations are challenging, but I have no doubt today’s verdict will give victims of past abuse in Rotherham continued confidence that they will be listened to, that crimes committed against them will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated by the National Crime Agency.

“Working with South Yorkshire Police, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and the many other partners we are engaged with, we will not stop in our endeavors to ensure the perpetrators who exploited vulnerable young people in the worst imaginable way will be finally held accountable for their crimes”.

Operation Stovewood is the NCA’s independent investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse and exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. Tony Chapman is the fifth individual to be convicted and with more trials scheduled throughout the year, we expect this number to rise.

There are currently 24 separate investigations under the Stovewood umbrella, with 125 suspects identified and more than 270 complainants engaging with officers. 18 suspects have been charged, ten released under investigation and two have been cautioned.