Three men jailed for sexually exploiting teenagers at Preston takeaway


Three men have today been jailed for a total of over 23 years at Preston Crown Court for sexual offences against five teenagers at Chicago Hot Dogs in Preston city centre between August and September 2014.

James Ruehle, the owner of the takeaway, and his two employees Michael McDougal and Kert Birtwhistle sexually abused five girls aged between 14 and 17 years at the takeaway and at a nearby hotel.

Sophie Lorimer, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West Rasso Unit said: "These young girls were abused in a busy city centre takeaway.  The business was a front for something far more sinister which was going on behind the scenes.  The girls had been specifically lured by the men in order to be sexually exploited.

"They were sexually harassed and groomed by all three men at the takeaway, they were also taken to a nearby hotel where they were plied with alcohol, cannabis, cigarettes and money before being sexually abused.  The men posed as professional photographers and promised the girls that they would make them models if they posed for indecent photographs.  They then subjected them to serious and prolonged sexual assaults whilst photographing and filming them.

"It is as a result of the bravery of the girls in coming forward and standing up against their abusers that the abuse was brought to an end and any further victims prevented from being exploited in this way.

"All three defendants showed utter regard for the effects that this degrading abuse would have on their victims simply to satisfy their own sexual desires.  Today as they begin their prison sentence they must face up to the consequences of their actions.

"We will continue to work closely alongside the police and other agencies to provide extensive support for victims and bring those who abuse and exploit children to justice."

Individual sentences:

James Ruehle was sentenced to 10 years and 4 months imprisonment
Michael McDougal was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment
Kert Birtwhistle was sentenced to 4 years and 6 month imprisonment