From Devon & Cornwall Police:
A man has been jailed for 13 and a half years after being found guilty of rape and other sexual offences against two vulnerable girls in Devon.
Michael Schofield, 33, from Bideford met the two girls online, using an alias and posing as a 17-year-old.
His victims were 15 and 16 when he groomed and abused them. Schofield was charged with one count of rape, six counts of paying for the sexual services of a child, and three counts of offering to supply a Class A drug.
Having been found guilty on all counts at a trial in July last year, he was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday 30 March
Deputy Senior Investigating Officer DS John Crewe said: “Schofield started to speak to one of his victims online in the summer of 2020. Following grooming on Snapchat, Schofield met with the girl in the autumn and paid her for sex with cash and drugs.
“This abuse continued until spring 2021 and had a significant impact on the victim’s mental health.
“Schofield repeated his pattern of grooming on a second teenage girl, who he then met in the summer of 2021, and raped her; over the next two months Schofield continued to meet the girl, paying her for sex with cash and drugs.”
The second victim confided in two adults who contacted the police, and Schofield was arrested in January 2022.
Speaking after sentencing, Detective Sergeant Crewe said:“The outcome of this case is about justice and closure for the victims of these horrible crimes.
“I want to pay tribute to the bravery and dignity the victims concerned have each shown.
“I hope this outcome affords them a positive platform to try and rebuild their lives. Schofield knew no limits to his offending and thought he was untouchable.
“Hopefully this sentence will give other victims of such crimes against women and young girls confidence to speak out and seek our help – but also be a suitable warning to other offenders like him, you’re not untouchable.
“I would like to also thank my team and pay tribute to their outstanding professionalism and teamwork.
“They have lived and breathed this investigation for more than 15 months, leaving no stone unturned. We will continue to pursue those that prey on vulnerable victims and hold them to account.”
Anyone who may have been affected by anything raised in this article can contact police in their local area by emailing email@example.com or calling 101.
Help is also available from:
• National Rape Crisis Helpline: 0808 802 9999
• Devon and Cornwall Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC): 0300 3034626
• Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Independent Sexual Advisor Service: 03458 121212
• Victim Care Unit: 01392 475900
• Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services: 01392 204 174