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12 February 2015, 16:42
Two friends have been jailed for nine years for raping a drunk 18-year-old in an alleyway after leading her from a nightclub close by.
Teesside Crown Court heard Craig Whitelaw and Kristofer McLaren took advantage of the teenager to have a "threesome" in August to play out their sexual fantasies.
The pair, both aged 21, were each convicted of one count of rape, while Whitelaw was also found guilty of one charge of sexual assault.
McLaren, of Rymer Way, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, and Whitelaw, of Ivy Cottage, Sutton, were cleared of a second rape charge.
Jailing the pals, Mr Justice Males said the friends had been boozing for most of the day before they met the girl in Club Amadeus in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.
He added: "She was drunk and vulnerable to your exploitation. "What you did was still rape and rape of the most squalid kind. "It was you and only you who took advantage of her to take her to a dark alley to see what fun you could have with her. "You decided to treat her body as a play thing."
The pair had denied all charges against them and said that she instigated the sexual encounter and had consented throughout. At the end of a nine day trial the jury of ten men and two women rejected their accounts.
In a victim impact statement, the traumatised girl said she had worried for some months that she had contracted a STD and also feared that she may have been pregnant.
Prosecutor Paul Newcombe told the court that the pair took advantage of the fact she was intoxicated, and was "stumbling repeatedly and often" as CCTV footage showed them leading the girl out of the night club. After they met the girl for the first time on the dance floor and shared a kiss, within 11 minutes, they had steered her down the nearby alleyway resulting in a fifty minute ordeal which left their victim looking as though she had been in a fight. The men showed no concern by leaving her in the dark alleyway and proceeded to get in a taxi without her, despite her pleas for them to help her find her friends. When Whitelaw was arrested, he admitted having sex, but claimed it was consensual, and said: "It's just lasses attention-seeking."
Both men will have to sign the sex offenders register for life. Detective Inspector Fiona Wynne, of Northallerton Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit, welcomed the sentences. She said: "I am delighted that justice has been delivered for the victim. She was subjected to a sustained attack by McLaren and Whitelaw. They treated her like a piece of meat and left her bleeding and distressed. "They laughed and joked about it afterwards, even boasting to the taxi driver about what had just happened when they left the scene. I can't imagine how any woman would feel after such an ordeal, but it is particularly distressing that it was the victim?s first sexual experience and she will have to live with that for the rest of her life."
DI Wynne added that the case highlights the fact that exploiting women who have been drinking is unacceptable. She said: "This verdict sends out a positive message that it is simply not acceptable for men to exploit the fact that a woman has been drinking. When a woman says no, it means no. I am confident that both the defendants knew that and chose to ignore it. "Their total disregard for her welfare was shocking and I hope they will both reflect on that in the months ahead and accept responsibility for what they have done."