Two men have been jailed for a total of 15 years after being found guilty of raping a 12-year-old girl in Watford.
Tommy Connors, aged 21, and Patrick Brooks, aged 22, were found to have arranged to meet and have sex with the girl. She was under the legal age of consent and also was considered vulnerable by police.
Concerns were raised with police after sexualised messages were found on the girl’s mobile phone.
A subsequent police investigation found that the men had initially made contact with the girl via social media. They had then messaged the girl and arranged to meet her for sex in January 2015, travelling in from outside Hertfordshire.
Connors, formerly of Layhams Road, Bromley, Kent, and Brooks, previously of Oak Lane, Billericay, Essex, were found guilty on Thursday, April 5 at St Albans Crown Court. They were sentenced to eight years and seven years in prison respectively the following day.
A third male, aged 19, was found not guilty.
The matter was investigated by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Halo unit, which specialises in tackling child sexual exploitation.
Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Alexandra Bruzas, said: “The 12-year-old girl was young and vulnerable. Connors and Brooks took advantage of this in order to exploit her. This can only be described as premeditated and planned rape of a child.
“I would like to pay tribute to the girl for her bravery throughout the investigation. I hope this sentencing brings some form of closure to her and her family.”