Three jailed for 'barbaric' attack

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Three members of a gang who subjected a schoolgirl to a day of torture and rape because they believed she had stolen a purse were described as barbaric at the Old Bailey yesterday.

The Common Serjeant of London, Judge Neil Denison, told them: "You in effect sought revenge and took the law into your own hands and subjected that young woman to a day of torture, sexual violence, degradation and humiliation. Your conduct can only be described as barbaric."

He sentenced the youngest, a 17-year-old girl, to three and a half years' detention, describing her as the ringleader. Johnny Wilson, 19, was sentenced to three years' detention and Stephen Dixon, 21, was jailed for three years.

The fourth member of the gang, Nicola Planter, 21, who admitted the attack but took no part in the rape of the victim, escaped jail. The mother of a four-year-old daughter, she was given a two-year probation order and 100 hours' community service.

During the trial the court heard the terrified schoolgirl, now 17, was subjected to a catalogue of sadistic violence during her ordeal last September.

Francis Sheridan, prosecuting, said the gang set out to humiliate her for allegedly stealing a purse containing pounds 130 belonging to Johnny Wilson's mother. They forced their way into her home in Peckham, south-east London, stripped her, whipped her with a belt, kicked her to the ground and made her dance naked.

She was burnt with a cigarette and forced to hold the lit end in her mouth. She was also ordered to drink one defendant's urine and was beaten with a cane.

Mr Sheridan said the two female defendants tried to outdo one another in the cruelty they could inflict. He said that the 17-year-old girl was the most vicious.

Most of the violence was carried out in the hallway of the block of flats in front of a jeering crowd which had gathered and laughed at the girl's plight and her screams of terror.

Later she was taken to Johnny Wilson's flat where she was stripped again, blindfolded and sexually abused by both boys, while the younger female attacker egged them on and afterwards subjected her to a separate sexual assault.

The girl finally escaped and alerted a neighbour.

The 17-year-old girl, of Peckham, was convicted of aiding and abetting rape and indecent assault and admitted during the trial causing actual bodily harm and forced imprisonment.

Wilson, of Peckham, and Dixon, of Northampton, were convicted of rape, attempted rape and forced imprisonment. Planter, of Peckham, admitted causing actual bodily harm.