Life for man who raped schoolgirls

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The Independent Online
A MAN who carried out vicious sex attacks on schoolgirls was given 18 life sentences yesterday. Michael Stephenson, 40, used his own children as bait to lure five girls, aged between six and 14, to his home, where he assaulted them. He even urged his young sons to 'watch and learn' from his rapes as his victims tried to escape.

At Cardiff Crown Court yesterday, Stephenson admitted 11 specimen charges of rape and seven other serious sexual offences, 10 of indecent assault and one of gross indecency. These were among 'hundreds of serious sexual offences' committed over a period of 15 years.

Ian Pritchard-Witts, for the prosecution, said: 'He was a predator and a tormentor. Stephenson would take advantage of the girls when they came to visit his own sons . . . The abuse began when Stephenson's wife was out shopping with friends. While one of the young girls was at his house he gave her a piggyback into his bedroom. This marked the start of his reign of abuse.

'On one occasion he even asked his two young sons to 'have a go' while he raped a schoolgirl on his bed.'

The court was told that Stephenson had threatened the girls with beatings if they told anybody about the assaults.

One schoolgirl, attacked at the age of six, recalled how Stephenson 'mumbled and grunted' while he raped her. During a game of hide- and-seek in Stephenson's house on the Ely estate in Cardiff, he trapped another nine-year-old victim in his airing cupboard, where he indecently assaulted her. Stephenson, who weighs 20 stone, also 'bounced up and down' on another girl - aged just 11 - when she lay on his sofa.

David Aubrey, for the defence, said: 'Whatever happens to him in prison he has only himself to blame.'

The court was told that Stephenson had served an 18-month prison sentence in 1987 for attempting to have unlawful intercourse with an eight-year-girl.

Judge Gibbon told Stephenson: 'These offences were vile and I think you will remain a danger to young children until old age reduces libido.'

After the case, a father of one of Stephenson's victims said: 'He's got what he deserved . . . my daughter and these other poor girls have been put through hell.'

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