April 2021

Serial child rapist made victims pose for pictures and called girl ‘Satan’

A serial child rapist forced girls to pose for semi naked pictures during his catalogue of abuse against them.

Sick Stephen Rafferty of Russell Road, Mossley Hill committed abhorrent acts against three children who were all under 14.

When one girl bit the vile paedophile he punched her and called her “Satan’s child”, swearing her to silence.

The now 27-year-old was convicted by a jury of 13 sexual offences against the children, including nine counts of rape.

He had previously admitted six counts of sexual assault against the victims.

Judge David Swinnerton, sentencing Rafferty yesterday at Liverpool Crown Court, said with his first victim he began “massaging her” before he touched her inappropriately and began to rape her repeatedly.

He said: “She first felt scared and threatened and didn’t say anything.”

The judge explained Rafferty had been tried and found not guilty of sexual offences when he was a child.

Judge Swinnerton said: “I mention it because as a result you knew it was very wrong to commit sexual offences.”

In a statement his first victim said that she struggled with “feeling ashamed of myself for allowing it to happen and not fighting back”.

She said: “I live with it every day. It continued to stay with me long after the abuse stopped.

“He has taken away my sense of self, my sense of security. I feel so violated.”

The victim said she had since self harmed and suffered with an eating disorder .

Judge Swinnerton said: “A substantial part of the effect on her and the difficulties she has had was due to you.

“The impact on her life has been devastating.”

The judge ruled that Rafferty’s monstrous actions had caused “serious psychological harm” to all of his victims.

With his other two victims the court heard he used “grooming behaviour” and “would play games” which then became sexual abuse and rape.

Judge Swinnerton, referring to his second victim, said: “You started touching her and told her she couldn’t tell anyone.”

Sick Rafferty told the girl it was “all your fault” and would regularly abuse her.

She said: “Sometimes I asked him to stop at first but he wouldn’t and there was no use.”

As well as raping the child he would force her to perform sex acts on him sometimes three or four times a week and would take his phone out and “take pictures of her body” while she wore a top and no bottoms.

Judge Swinnerton said when his third victim was interviewed by police she was “unable to speak” but wrote down “Stephen forced me to have sex with him”.

As Rafferty raped the third girl she bit his penis and he “punched her, telling her she was Satan’s child” and told her to “never tell anybody else”, claiming it was “natural”.

The vile paedophile told the girl “the world would be better without me” and said she was to blame for his sick crimes.

As a child the girl was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and said: “I struggled to copy and used to self harm.”

Rafferty’s third victim, in a personal statement, also said she had tried to take her own life on two separate occasions and has been diagnosed with PTSD.

She said: “It felt like my world was crashing around me.”

The victim said: “It is so scary to know people have the audacity to try and ruin people’s lives for their own joy.” 

The judge explained that when asked in a probation interview if he was a risk to children Rafferty replied: “In an ideal world I would want to say no but I can’t say that.”

The court heard his grandparents described him as having “qualities of generosity” and having “shown a work ethic”.

Rafferty admitted six counts sexual assault against a child and was convicted following a trial on January 11 of two counts of assault by penetration of a child, nine counts of rape of a child and two counts of taking indecent photographs of a child.

Judge Swinnerton said Rafferty was a “dangerous” offender and jailed him for 20 years, with an extended five years on licence.

This type of sentence means he will spend at least two thirds of the custodial term behind bars.

Rafferty will then only be released before the end of his sentence if a parole board considers he is no longer a risk.

He was also subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for life and must sign the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.