November 2015

Man who groomed & raped 13-year old girl has jail sentence doubled


A man jailed for raping a 13-year old girl has had his “unduly lenient” prison sentence doubled.

Lawrence Fernandes, of Foundry Lane, Southampton, was jailed for six years in August after being found guilty of two rapes and two counts of indecency.

The 35-year-old first came into contact with his victim in 2003 and bribed her with money and a talking teddy bear, Exeter Crown Court heard at his trial.

Fernandes was 23 at the time of the offences but lied to the girl about his age.

The Court of Appeal increased his jail term to 12 years.

Fernandes met the girl through an online chat room and travelled from Hampshire to Devon to meet her.

He raped her in a lane near her Teignmouth home the first time they met, his trial was told.

The church-going air cadet volunteer gave the girl a novelty teddy bear in which he recorded his own voice telling her ‘he loved her’ and asked her to listen to it every night before she went to sleep.

He also gave her other gifts, including underwear, the court heard.

The abuse only ended when the girl confronted him in a public park in Teignmouth and shouted at him that he was a paedophile and to leave her alone.

The trial judge said he “exploited her vulnerability”.

Solicitor General Robert Buckland said he asked for the sentence to be reviewed because “his behaviour had a significant impact on his child victim”.

He added: “I hope that today has offered her a degree of comfort knowing that her attacker’s sentence is now 12 years.”

August 2015

Paedophile jailed for raping 13-year-old girl

A PAEDOPHILE groomed and then raped a vulnerable Teignmouth girl by lavishing her with gifts – including a creepy teddy bear with a recording of his voice saying ‘I love you’.

Lawrence Fernandes plied the girl with gifts including the toy bear. She was told to pull the string and listen to his voice every night before she went to sleep.

Fernandes travelled down from Hampshire to rape the vulnerable 13-year-old after befriending her on the internet.

Exeter Crown Court was told that Fernandes abused her trust and left her feeling like a ‘whore’ to satisfy his paedophile urges by plying her with alcohol, buying her sexy underwear and telling her to dress like a grown up.

He was jailed for six years after the judge heard he was a ‘very different man’ from the one who committed the crimes in 2003.

The court was told Fernandes had done a lot of good work in the community, including for the church and air cadets.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape; one of indecency with a child and one indecent assault but was found guilty by a jury at a trial in June.

Prosecutor Nigel Wraith said Fernandes was 23 at the time of the offences but lied to the girl about his age.

“He met the girl in an online chatroom,” said the prosecutor.

Fernandes travelled to meet the girl and carried out the attacks at various locations, including a hotel and in the back of his car at a remote location.

Both times she was raped the girl told Fernandes she did not want to have sex, but he ignored her pleas.

“He gave her money and gifts,” said Mr Wraith.

These included flowers, chocolates, underwear and the teddy bear.

“One was a toy bear with your voice recorded inside with instructions she should listen to it each night before she went to sleep. 

“She pulled the string to hear your voice saying you loved her.”

The victim said in a statement that she was treated like a ‘whore’ and that the course of her life had been changed as result of meeting him.

Recorder Ignatius Hughes said: “You befriended a vulnerable 13-year-old girl via the internet chat rooms and you inveigled your way into her confidence.

“You travelled a long distance to meet her and have sex with her. You continued to deny your guilt.

“Each time you met her you lavished her with gifts and money.

“You kept contact with her by phone and text and bought her underwear and encouraged her to look more grown up.”

Recorder Hughes said the offences were more than a decade old and the defendant was ‘from a good family’.

“No doubt the pain you have caused them will weigh heavily on your mind,” he said.

“You have spent the last 12 years not offending. You worked hard and have done decent things with your life – with the church and air cadets.

“You have held down a normal relationship since then. In every way the court can divine you have put this behind you.

“People do change and 10 or 12 years is a long time and looking at your life history before and since this it’s at least possible in my judgement you are a very different man than the one who committed these offences.”

Recorder Hughes said he had taken into account how much older and more mature Fernandes was now.

He said Fernandes, from Romsey in Hampshire, would ordinarily serve three years of his six year sentence in jail before being released on licence.

The defendant was also made subject of a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.