A 55 year-old man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for sexual activity with a child, following a National Crime Agency investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in Rotherham.
The offences against a girl who was aged 15 when the abuse first started, took place between 2004 and 2007.
The investigation proved Darren Hyett, who was aged 41 at the time, targeted and groomed the 15-year-old girl. He bought her gifts, gave her alcohol and cigarettes and regularly took her out in his taxi after collecting her from a children’s home.
In her victim impact statement she said:
“Darren has impacted on my life in many ways and still does - many of these are invisible to the eyes of others. Darren has used and exploited my vulnerability and my childhood situation and destroyed part of me that I will never get back – I lost the innocence of being a child.
“The nightmare of what he did to me never goes away and when I was contacted by the National Crime Agency the past crashed back into my life. I was forced to think about and face the reality of my abuse.
“This process has been ongoing for nearly three years and culminated in coming to give evidence at court. I cannot put into words how the thought of facing my abuser made me feel. The only thing that has enabled me to cope is the support from friends and family, and the need to take control of my life for myself and my family”
Operation Stovewood Senior Investigating Officer, Paul Williamson said:
“The actions of Darren Hyett were premeditated and calculated. He took advantage of a vulnerable young girl, sexually abusing her for a number of years.
“This is the latest conviction under Operation Stovewood and again I want to commend the bravery of the victim and witnesses who came to court to give their accounts of what happened.
"Specific support packages are put in place for the victims and survivors we work with, starting when they are first contacted by the NCA, through any trials they are involved in and beyond according to their needs.
“The courage shown by the victim and witnesses in this case has helped us convict Hyett and he is now behind bars, no longer posing a risk to young and vulnerable people of Rotherham”.
Alison Cartmell from the CPS said:
“Darren Hyett preyed on a young, vulnerable teenager and bought her gifts, cigarettes and drugs to gain control over her for his own sexual gratification.
“He denied having sexual contact with the victim while she was under the age of 16, but evidence put forward by the CPS, including the victim’s accounts of the incidents, saw the jury find him guilty.
“I would like to thank the victim who came forward and bravely supported this prosecution.”
There are currently 22 separate investigations under the Stovewood umbrella, with 147 suspects identified and more than 290 complainants engaging with officers. 24 suspects have been charged and 12 have been arrested (or attended a police station voluntarily) and bailed or released under investigation.