Man convicted of sex assaults on teenage girls in Brighton and Newhaven

|News, Sexual offences

A young man has been convicted of systematically sexually exploiting and assaulting teenage girls in Brighton and Newhaven.

Lewes Harby, unemployed, 20, of Railway Road, Newhaven, pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court on 31 August to nine counts of sexual offences against six girls, aged between 12 and 15, between 2015 and 2017, who come from Brighton, Lancing and Newhaven.

He was remanded in custody for sentencing on 29 September. He admitted: sexually assaulting a girl aged 13; four rapes of a girl aged 12; sexually assaulting a 14-year old girl; meeting a 15-year-old girl for sex after grooming; sexually assaulting another girl, aged 15; and raping a girl aged 13.

Detective Constable Rich Valder-Davis, of the Brighton Safeguarding Investigations Unit, said: "Harby got to know his victims all of whom were younger than him, supplying them with mobile phones and giving them alcohol. As well as assaulting them, he sent some of them indecent photos of himself via the social media app Snapchat.

"Working closely with Brighton and Hove Council children's services, we were gradually able to gain the confidence of the victims and put a case together with the invaluable assistance of the CPS and prosecutor James Dawes.

"A dangerous sexual predator who targeted young girls has now been safely removed from the streets and we hope this will act as a re-assurance for any other young girls who have found themselves in the same distressing situations, and their families, that they can contact us in confidence at any time and arrange to talk in confidence to experienced investigators.

"All information will be taken seriously and we can also arrange access to sources for further advice, support and counselling where necessary.

"Call us on 101 or contact us online, quoting Operation Meridian."

Lorna Lee, a CPS rape specialist prosecutor, said: "Harby targeted vulnerable young girls, gaining their trust and becoming someone they felt understood them and that they could confide in. He abused that trust, fostering relationships with the girls to a point where he could then abuse or rape them. Rather than the trustworthy friend they had been led to believe him to be, Harby was a sexual predator who used these young girls for his own sexual gratification.

"Due to the overwhelming evidence in this case, which included accounts from each of his victims, Harby entered guilty pleas to these offences."

Lorna is a lawyer in the CPS South East's dedicated Rape and Serious Sexual Offences team. You can read more about their work on the CPS South East website.

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