Three Preston Men Jailed for Child Sexual Exploitation
April 15, 2016, 10:05 pm
Three men from Preston have today (Thursday 14 April) been jailed at Preston Crown Court after they pleaded guilty to a number of sex offences against three girls aged between 14 and 15.
James Ruehle, 68, of Whinfield Lane, Preston; Michael McDougall, 31, of Ashworth Street, Preston and Kert Birtwistle, 20, of Arundel Place, Preston were charged with various sexual offences following an investigation which began in November 2014 when police were made aware of reports that three girls, two aged 14 and one aged 15, had been subjected to sexual abuse at a hotel in Preston in August 2014.
The investigation established that the three men had come into contact with the victims at JRâ€™s Chicago Hot Dogs takeaway on Fishergate, a small food outlet owned and managed by Ruehle. Birtwistle and McDougall were members of staff at the premises.
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It emerged that the victims were lured to the hotel under the promise of potential modelling work but instead they were given alcohol and cannabis before they were sexually abused.
James Ruehle was sentenced to ten years and four months imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of attempted sexual activity with a child. He also pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a fourth victim aged 17 at his takeaway in September 2014.
Michael McDougall was sentenced to nine years imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual activity with a child.
Kert Birtwistle was sentenced to four and a half years in a young offenderâ€™s institution after he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a child.
All three defendants also pleaded guilty to making indecent images of children.
DC Ian Marsh from Lancashire Constabularyâ€™s Public Protection Unit said: â€œThese men took advantage of the vulnerable child victims, who were taken to a hotel under false pretences. They were given drugs and alcohol and subjected to appalling sexual abuse. I am pleased that the offenders have now been jailed for their abhorrent actions and I hope the victims, who have been extremely brave throughout this investigation, are able to move forward with their lives now that these men have been brought to justice.
â€œWe are committed to protecting children and keeping them safe from being abused and exploited and I hope this case gives other victims of sexual offences the confidence to come forward and report it to police, safe in the knowledge that we take all reports of sexual abuse extremely seriously and that victims will be dealt with sensitively and professionally throughout.â€