Court hears allegations of kidnap, rape, and forced prostitution of teenage girls in Rugby

Leamington Justice Centre, home of Warwick Crown Court
Leamington Justice Centre, home of Warwick Crown Court

For 20 years two men targeted vulnerable teenagers who were sexually assaulted, raped and made to work as prostitutes in Coventry and Rugby, it has been claimed.

The allegations involving six girls were made by the prosecution against the two men, Peter Jones and Raymond Dickens, at the start of a trial at Warwick Crown Court.

Jones (55) of Wheelwright Lane, Coventry, but previously from Rugby, has pleaded not guilty to three charges of rape, while Dickens (53) of Langdale Close, Rugby, denies two charges or rape.

In addition Jones has denied sexual assault, kidnapping, having an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence, false imprisonment, administering drugs to have intercourse, causing or inciting prostitution, and assault.

And Dickens denies further charges of indecent assaults on three young women, procuring a woman to become a prostitute and false imprisonment.

Also in the dock is Helen Thompson (43) of Morris Close, Rugby, who has pleaded not guilty to taking part with Jones in the kidnapping of a teenager 20 years ago.

Prosecutor Michael Shaw told the jury: “What we say has gone on is that for the last 20 years or so Jones, assisted by Dickens, has been targeting vulnerable girls of 17, 18, often with emotional problems and from broken homes and in care. They befriended them by buying electricity for their flats, getting them phone credits, and so on. The name of the game was to get them on the game, as it were.

“To control them, they used intimidation, kidnapping, getting them onto drugs or raping them.

“They would repeatedly rape the girls, not just for sexual reasons, but to retain control of them. They got away with it, on the whole, for about 20 years. Then, you will hear, as so often happens, that what had been eating away at these girls, many of whom had got on with their lives, started to leak out, and partners were told.”

Mr Shaw said one of the alleged victims confided in her partner after watching Danielle Lloyd on TV a programme called In Therapy.

He contacted the police, triggering the investigation ‘Operation Costa’ into the activities of Jones and Dickens.

“At first just two girls came forward, but it got in the press, and more came forward and told a strikingly pattern of what had happened in Rugby over the past 20 years.

“There was something very unpleasant going on in Rugby between the late 90s and up until very recently,” commented Mr Shaw, who said Jones led ‘a transient life,’ living at addresses in both Rugby and Coventry when not in jail.

“Only last year and the year before, Jones was still at it, targeting a vulnerable young woman who had mental health and drug issues, telling her she could earn money just by lying on her back.”

Of Thompson, he said: “There were periods of time when Jones could not drive himself, and being driven around by others including Thompson, who was present when one of the girls was kidnapped and put in the boot of Thompson’s car at gunpoint.”

Outlining the charges, Mr Shaw said it was alleged that Jones drugged her in 1998 with the ‘date-rape drug GHB or Gamma, as he called it.’

The next five charges involved a girl who was just 16 at the time of those allegations, also dating back to 1998.

Mr Shaw said Jones had befriended her, but his attitude changed after she told him that a video recorder he had left at a ‘safe house’ in Rugby had been stolen – at which he beat her up and told her she would have to ‘work the money off.’

“He put a gun to her head and bundled her into the back of a car driven by Thompson before, because she wouldn’t stop crying, putting her in the boot and taking her back to his flat where he raped her.”

Mr Shaw continued that in relation to another girl, who came forward following publicity over Jones and Dickens being charged, ‘it was Dickens who took control of her’ in the mid-90s.

After befriending her, he had tried to get her to work as a prostitute. Dickens was also said to have forced her to perform oral sex on him and to have raped her in his car in Lovers Lane in Rugby.

Another alleged victim, who was not spoken to by the police until recently said she had been raped by Jones at his flat after allegedly being drugged with Gamma.

Another young woman told the police Jones had supplied her with cocaine and alcohol when she was 16 or 17 as he tried to persuade her to work for him as a prostitute.

Jones was also said to have caused or incited another teenager to work as a prostitute as recently as last year, and when she refused he is alleged to have sexually assaulted her.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.