Teenager jailed for abducting girl who was raped by his friends fails in bid to clear his name

Court News
Court News

A TEENAGER who served a jail sentence for abducting a schoolgirl – who was then raped by his friends – has failed in a bid to clear his name.

Sam Jordan Hunter, 19, of Hirdman Grove, Hartlepool, helped to entice the girl into a car before she was taken to a secluded area for the attack.

He was convicted of child abduction at Durham Crown Court and jailed for 18 months last February.

Last year, he launched a bid to clear his name, but has now seen it rejected by three top judges in London.

Lord Justice Laws said there was nothing to cast any doubt on the safety of Hunter’s conviction.

The Court of Appeal heard Hunter was with his friends Lewis Bates and Mark Wilson - who were later jailed for rape - when he asked the victim to get into the car and they drove off.

After driving to a quiet road, Bates and Wilson got her out of the car and took her to a secluded area, where she was raped.

It was never suggested that Hunter knew what was to happen to the girl and he remained in the car throughout.

Appealing against his abduction conviction, Hunter’s barrister Jane Waugh said the attack on the girl had been so horrific that it tainted his trial.

The jury having heard the shocking evidence of what happened to her after the alleged abduction, it was impossible for Hunter to get a fair trial.

Instead, the judge should have separated Hunter’s case and tried it on its own, she said.

“The evidence was particularly distressing to all concerned,” she told the court.

“My submission is that, had he been tried separately, most if not all of that evidence would probably have been ruled inadmissible.

“The jury were clearly moved by her account and her mother’s account of the terrible time that she had suffered at the hands of the co-accused.

“Sam Hunter could not have a fair trial being tried on the same indictment as the rapes.”

Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Laws said: “There is nothing here to suggest that the jury misapprehended the scope of the case against him.

“In those circumstances, the judge was entitled to refuse severance and it seems to us that he was indeed right to do so.

“There was, in our judgment, no danger that the jury might have been misled as to the nature of the case against Sam Hunter.”

The conviction was upheld.