Rape ordeal in East Ham of girl, aged just 11

An 11-year-old girl was raped in a fast-food restaurant toilet in a campaign of sex attacks involving up to eight members of the same street gang, a court heard.

The teenage accomplices took turns to rape her a dozen times over several months at various Newham locations.

The attacks, between September 2009 and March 2010, are said to have been motivated by a “mixture of bulling and gang bravado.”

The victim was even harassed by some girls who heard rumours and accused her of being “with the gang.” She was first attacked in a park by two boys, one said to be the gang leader, the youngest member, aged just 13 at the time, Inner London Crown Court heard. He led a second attack at his home, involving a queue of up to eight thugs.

On the final occasion in March 2010 she was cornered by three boys in the McDonalds lavatory in East Ham, where one of them raped her.

The leader, now 15, was convicted of two rapes following a trial but he was let out on bail ahead of sentence. He claimed he was playing football but jurors rejected his story. A 15-year-old boy admitted raping the girl in the McDonalds cubicle. Police found pornographic images depicting a gang rape attack at the home of one of the suspects.

Elizabeth Smaller, prosecuting, said: “The girl appears to have been raped in furtherance of an unattractive mixture of bullying and possibly gang bravado.”

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The girl first met the gang on a bus and they went to Central Park, East Ham, where the ringleader and another boy started asking her about sex.

“One of them grabbed her and pulled her trousers down,” said the barrister. “She went to walk off, but was pulled back by one. She said: ‘Don’t touch me’ but he turned her round and she ended up in a corner. She remembers saying: ‘Can’t you leave me alone?’ but she said that she knew what was going to happen and, in the end, allowed it to happen.”

After the first boy raped her, jurors heard a second then raped her too. This was followed by bullying, with the boys calling and texting her not to tell anyone of her ordeal. A week later, the girl went to the ringleader’s home in Newham, where she was attacked by him and the rest of the gang.

“When in the house she said to the gang’s leader ‘if I do it are you going to leave me alone?’ After calling a friend, she realised there were six to eight boys in the room.

“The boys sat on the bed and told her that she was going to have sex with them next. When she said she was not, the leader told her ‘yes you are’.”

The gang later beat her up in Central Park as a warning not to tell anyone about her ordeal, the court heard.

Weeks later a group of girls called her names after hearing rumours about her.

“She saw the same boys again and they started punching her and beat her up. A couple of weeks later she was beaten up again, and afterwards she was verbally abused by some girls. She seemed to be on the receiving end of a number of unpleasant experiences.”

A few months later the girl was seen by the 15-year-old in McDonald’s, East Ham, and was followed into the toilets, it was said.

“Three of them went into the toilet, and she told them ‘you can’t come in here’. One of them, angry and agitated, said ‘do you want it?’”

She initially did not say anything, but was convinced to go to the police by a cousin in September 2010.

When police searched the home of a boy who was later cleared, they found pornographic pictures on his laptop depicting gang rape similar to the bedroom attack. His mother told the court the porn belonged to her.

“One depicted a scene, not dissimilar from what happened to the victim, one girl with eight men, watching, waiting to take turns,” said Ms Smaller. The mother admitted the images were nasty, but said she had looked at them out of curiosity.

The boys were arrested in September 2010 and officers seized their computers.

Police recovered details of a Facebook conversation about the girl contacting police between the ringleader and another 15-year-old boy.

“They discussed the rumours that she had gone to police,” said Ms Smaller.

“Put briefly, it read ‘I think the girl we rapped (sic) went to police’. ‘What girl?’ was the reply. ‘The girl we bang at my house’.

During their police interviews the boys denied raping the girl and answered “no comment” when asked specifically about her.

The ringleader, 15, denied three counts of rape and was convicted of the first and third offences.

He admitted the McDonald’s rape.

A 16-year-old denied the Central Park rape and was cleared.

A third 15-year-old was also cleared of rape.

Miss Smaller said there was only enough evidence to bring charges against some of the teenagers, but others may now be prosecuted.

Judge Patricia Lees allowed the leader bail with a strict tagged curfew ahead of sentencing on March 20.