'Predator' who raped schoolgirl is behind bars

John Phoenix
John Phoenix

A borough man has been jailed after he lured a 12-year-old girl from her home, plied her with alcohol and raped her.

John Phoenix, 30, was sentenced at Bolton Crown Court today after admitting rape and being found guilty of child abduction at an earlier hearing.

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The 12-year-old girl was reported missing from her home in Leigh on September 22 last year.

Police traced her to Phoenix's home on Brideoak Street, Leigh, two days later and discovered he had been messaging the girl on social media for several weeks.

On the night she went missing, Phoenix took the youngster to a nightclub in Leigh, where he plied her with alcohol and kissed her.

He then took her back to his house and raped her.

Phoenix was sentenced to 14 years in prison for rape and five years for child abduction, to run concurrently.

He was also given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offenders' register indefinitely.

Det Con Rachel Forsythe, from Greater Manchester Police's Wigan child sexual exploitation team, said: “Phoenix’s actions were utterly despicable. He is a predator who plied this young girl with alcohol and raped her knowing full well that she was 12 years old and he had lured her away from her family.

“What this young girl has been through at such a young age is unimaginable and I would like to commend her incredible bravery in supporting our investigation.

“My thoughts are also with the girl’s mother, who experienced every parent's worst nightmare when she realised her 12-year-old daughter was missing and then had the horrifying discovery of what she'd gone through at the hands of this disgraceful man.

“I want this result to send a clear message that we have a team of specialists committed to finding the people who exploit children and make sure they are held to account for their abhorrent actions.”

If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, you can call the police on 101.

Alternatively people can refer themselves to St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 0161 276 6515, whether or not they want make a police report.