St Ives Members Appear in Sex Trafficking Trial

Date: Thursday 2nd February 2017

Four members of the St Ives Criminal Group appeared in a lengthy trial at the Warwickshire Justice Centre. David Jackson led Justin Jarmola for the first defendant Waqaar Khan and Peter Cooper led Anthony Cartin for the third defendant Marcus Woolcock. The trial spanned eight weeks.

The prosecution consisted of a forty count indictment against five defendants. The trial saw six teenage girls, aged 15 and 16, give evidence against the men who themselves were aged between 18 and 24. Allegations were primarily of rape and human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation. The ‘trafficking’ element of the prosecution case was generally the transporting of the teenagers in cars, over relatively short distances around Coventry, for non-consensual sexual activity to take place.

Several counts were dismissed by the Judge at the close of the prosecution case after successful submissions of no case to answer on behalf of both defendants. The trial continued in respect of the remaining counts.

After several days of deliberations the jury returned unanimous verdicts in respect of the five defendants. The evidence of two women resulted in convictions. All counts based on the evidence of the remaining four complainants resulted in not guilty verdicts. In total, twenty-seven out of the forty counts resulted in not guilty verdicts.

Marcus Woolcock was convicted of just two allegations out of the twelve that he originally faced. The most serious allegations against him were five counts of rape, assault by penetration and attempted rape. All these resulted in acquittals. His two convictions were for sexual assault and human trafficking of a single complainant, who was aged 16 at the time. He was acquitted of allegations that he had orally raped and attempted vaginally to rape the same complainant. He received a sentence of 30 months imprisonment.

Waqaar Khan was convicted of three counts of rape and one of trafficking against one teenager, and also of trafficking another for the purposes of her being sexually assaulted. He was acquitted of numerous further offences of rape, assault by penetration and trafficking, alleged by four further complainants.

The remaining defendants were all convicted of offences of either rape, sexual assault or human trafficking. The case received much coverage in the local and national press.

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