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Anorak | Daily Mail Turns Reading ‘Footballers Gang Rape’ Into A Game

Daily Mail Turns Reading ‘Footballers Gang Rape’ Into A Game

by | 23rd, July 2011

WHEN in March 2011, six men were jailed for raping two 12-year-old girls in Reading, they were identified first and foremost as footballers.

The guilty, who admitted rape, were:

Courtney Amos,19, Ashley Charles, 20, Dennis De Sousa, 18, Jahson Downes, 20, Jahvon Edwards, 19, and Luke Farrugia, 21.

Now, the six have been freed on appeal. The Mail’s Paul Bracchi writes beneath the headline:

Raped at 12 by a gang of footballers – but judges say it’s the victims’ fault and frees them. Now one of the victims talks about the sickening events of that night.

They were not a gang of footballers. As we told you:

Downes has played for Basingstoke Town. Ashley Charles “attended” the Reading FC academy. Luke Farrugia plays for Reading Town. Amos “completed two years of football coaching“.

But the Mail says they are footballers.

They have been convicted of sex crimes. Their prison sentences have been cut and suspended. They will remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years.

Lord Justice Moses, hearing the appeal, said he felt the punishment had been “excessive” and that it was the defendants own frank confessions which landed them in court.

Adding:

“If you have casual sex with someone you don’t know, you run the risk of having sex with someone who is underage.”

Bracchi writes:

Katie (not her real name) was just 12 when her and a friend went with six men to a park where ‘something terrible’ happened.

At first, she is almost too nervous to speak, but with her mother’s gentle encouragement, she tentatively begins to find the words.

She hopes, she says, that ‘people won’t judge her’ or think she is ‘messed up’ or that she is a ‘bad girl’.

‘I’m really not,’ she says pitifully.

Bracchi has yet to introduce the facts, her hunour. But the original trial judge, Judge Stephen John, did tell the men:

You saw those girls as utterly willing sexual partners, which they were, and behaved towards them as if they were simply pieces of flesh, not people.

Says Bracchi:

That a 13-year-old girl should even feel the need to defend her reputation and character in such a way is perhaps the saddest aspect of what you are about to read.

Perhaps. But it isn’t. It isn’t by a long shot. The entire story is sad. No-one wins. It’s a pathetic, brutal, desperate and ugly tale. Says Bracchi:

Sadly, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what that ‘something terrible’ was.

Well, the word “RAPE” in the headline is one clue. And as for being a genius…well, let’s not hang too much baggage on the men and women of the judiciary who oversaw the matter.

The six men — all promising local footballers — claimed they thought the girls were at least 16, but they were subsequently convicted of statutory rape because, in the eyes of the law, the girls were unable to give their consent.

Last week, though, the defendants were controversially freed from jail after the Appeal Court ruled that the girls had ‘wanted sex’.

In other words, according to the judgment, Katie and her friend — both just 12, remember — were not really victims at all.

Are the men victims, then?

Worse, it gave credence to the view, in the eyes of some, at least, that they were actually to blame for getting the six footballers, aged between 18 and 21, including a former member of Reading FC’s academy, into trouble and ruining their careers.

Who are these “some”? We are given no names. Only:

‘It’s all your fault,’ said one particularly vile response. Another asked: ‘How can you live with yourself?’

‘It didn’t make me feel very nice,’ says Katie.

Bracchi then tells us:

But the tragedy spreads wider, for the case also exposes the increasing sexualisation of children and the sickening culture of group sex, which somehow seems to have become acceptable behaviour for a growing number of predatory teenage males.

We then meet Katie:

She is in her school uniform, sitting anxiously in the living room of her home. Her exceptionally pretty features are framed by a sweet brown bob. Katie loves photography and is getting a camera for her birthday. She is doing well at school.

Is mention of her uniform an attempt to desexualise her? Are her looks relevant? The Mail illustrates the story with a picture of a white girl. Four of the six men are black. Two are white. Is Katie white in real life? Is that what shocks the paper?

We are then treated to the exchange that occurred on the fateful night. Katie is with a friend billed a Lucy (colour and school grades unspecified). Lucy says she is 16.

Edwards: ‘Out in my car. You?’
Lucy: ‘Who you with? Should we come too?’
Edwards: ‘Five friends.’
Lucy: ‘We can have three each.’
Edwards: ‘Yes Who you having?’
Lucy: ‘Whoever wants me?’

Lucy

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Posted: 23rd, July 2011 | In: News Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink