Preston rape and trafficking duo start jail terms as court hears vulnerable children and women were groomed, given lifts to Blackpool and plied with drink and drugs

Two Preston nightclub DJs have been jailed and ordered to Sign the Sex Offender's Register for life after a lengthy probe into the grooming, exploitation and rape of vulnerable girls and women in Preston.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 1:39 pm

Father-of-two Amos O'Cheng, 51, of Winckley Square, Preston - who uses the name Max and Tyrese - plied victims aged 14 to 19 with alcohol and drugs before raping them.

O'Cheng, who was well known in the city as a promoter, DJ, and for operating a car wash business, was convicted of raping, trafficking and supplying drugs to three girls, and supplying drugs to another girl.

O'Cheng suffers from HIV and Herpes simplex - though the victims did not catch the illnesses as O'Cheng's antiretroviral treatment (ART) had reduced the level of HIV virus in his blood to an undetectable viral load, meaning it can no longer be passed on through sexual contact.

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Dickson Ngaunde

His close friend Dickson Ngaunde, 27, also known as DJ Dickson and Jimmy Rowen - was convicted of raping a semi conscious 19-year-old woman who had been plied with drugs and alcohol.

Seconds before his attack Ngaunde, who lived in a Preston flat at the time, filmed himself searching through rooms for the woman, finding her unconscious on bed in an empty ground floor flat, and O'Cheng trying to rouse the woman before leaving the room.

He then filmed his attack on his phone, in which she could he heard to mumble 'no'.

He was later was caught on internal CCTV at the flats laughing at the state she was in.

Amos O'Cheng

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The men were convicted after a month long trial linked to a Lancashire Police trafficking probe - Operation Command - launched in 2019.

The court previously heard O'Cheng, who did not tell the victims his true age, used cars rented in London, and went by pseudonyms to go "under the radar" .

During the trial he claimed the girls consented and he believed they were older.

A photo of an i-Pad with cocaine in O'Cheng's flat was found during the investigation

The victims, who were aged between 14 and 19 at the time, told officers they had been given drink by O'Cheng that made them 'feel weird', with one youngster telling them: " My eyes were blurry. I sat on the bed and the next thing I woke up naked."

The court heard the first two, aged 14 and 16, were in care and were introduced to O'Cheng by a 15-year-old girl.

From September 2019 they went missing from their homes on several occasions and a probe found O'Cheng had rented cars and driven them to Blackpool.

Evidence showed O'Cheng made repeated persistent contact with the 16-year-old, and would pour vodka into her can of pop on their journeys.

Crown Court

On November 6 and 7 the girls made arrangements to go out and O'Cheng picked the 16-year-old up and gave her alcohol and cannabis.

They went back to his flat where they continued to drink and take drugs, and she recalled "feeling weird, different to the sensation of being stoned".

She woke naked in his bed, and after he left the room she found naked videos of herself on his phone, with no recall about what had happened.

Later O'Cheng picked the 14-year-old up and they all went back to his flat where he supplied cocaine and asked the children to "have a threesome" with him, which they declined.

That night he dropped the 16-year-old off in Blackpool, and drove the "steaming drunk" 14-year-old back to his flat in Preston, where he supplied more booze and cocaine before raping her.

In a separate incident over the same period O'Cheng and Ngaunde, now of Stanford Avenue, Brighton, Sussex, approached a 16-year-old girl from Eastbourne, who had become separated from her friends after a night out.

She accepted his offer of a lift and a alcoholic drink in his car which made her feel strange. The terrified teen recalled waking confused in his car near Preston. She agreed to go into his flat to use the toilet but became scared.

He said he would take her to the train station but she became wary and asked him to pull over.

In a harrowing victim impact statement the 14-year-old girl said she suffered sleepless nights, feared his revenge, and felt depressed and disgusted.

The 16-year-old described the confusion of feeling she was using him rather than the reality that he was grooming her, and her after learning he was HIV positive.

His third victim described going off the rails smoking and drinking and mixing with wrong crowd as she tried to block out what had happened.

His fourth said the rape was a life changing experience and said he manipulated her into blaming herself for what she had done.

Defending, Bunty Batra said O'Cheng had a traumatic background in Uganda, where his father and brother were killed by rebels and his mother kidnapped.

He has not seen her since he was 19 and his surviving brother has cancer.

Judge Philip Parry said he found O'Cheng to be a dangerous offender due to the multiple offences against vulnerable victims, lack of victim empathy and grooming behaviour against young teenage girls, including using "charm, drink and drugs to gain the confidence of young girls and women".

He imposed an extended sentence of 24 years in jail with an extended three year licence.

Ngaunde received 10 years in jail.

Judge Parry said: "What they didn't know at the time was there would be a price to pay for what you were doing for them."

He reminded the court that moments before O'Cheng raped the 14-year-old, he had received a message from the 14-year-old's friend making clear her age and that she lived in a care home.

He said: "When you knew that, by the time of this offence in November, you knew full well that she was a young and vulnerable girl, but if that hadn't been obvious until then, this text message at 12.08am couldn't have been clearer, making you aware of her age and status, but that didn't stop you supplying her with yet more alcohol and yet more cocaine.

"She was very drunk and arguably besotted with you given the attention you had lavished on her in the previous months. When asked about these events by police she said she did and she didn't want to have sex with you.

"That indifference as to her view of having sex with you, to my mind, was plainly as a result of the months of you grooming her to a point where it was arguable she was besotted with you."

He added: "The effect on your victims has been profound, and I have no problem at all in finding you have caused them all severe psychological harm."

Trafficking involves a person moved from one place to another - whether country to country or town to town - to be exploited, and more than a quarter of all victims of trafficking last year were British.

After the hearing Detective Chief Inspector Steve Holgate, who led Operation Command, said: “There was a pattern of behaviour indulged in by both these men where young, vulnerable females are befriended for one singular purpose, their own sexual gratification.

“I would like to commend first and foremost the bravery of the young women who have reported these offences and gone through the trial process – it cannot have been an easy experience to relive what was done to them but these convictions would not have been possible without them and I am grateful for what they have done.

“I am grateful too for the work the Crown Prosecution Service and Counsel have done in securing these convictions and to the trial jury who carefully considered the evidence and delivered the guilty verdicts.

“We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of a sexual assault to come forward. The decision to report an assault is a hugely personal one, but we want to reassure people that all reports to us are taken very seriously and we will investigate in a sensitive and supportive way. We offer support and working with you to ensure that you have the right help from the appropriate services.”

* Independent Sexual Violence Advisors from Lancashire Victim Services are specially trained professionals who help and support victims of rape and sexual abuse.

They support victims whether a prosecution proceeds or not and will ensure people get the right information, help and support.

Call 0300 323 0085 or visit www.lancashirevictimservices.org

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