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Buckhurst Hill man found guilty of sexually exploiting seven teenage girls

John Bancroft will be sentenced next year (credit: Met Police)

A man from Buckhurst Hill who used dating apps to sexually exploit seven teenage girls has been found guilty.

John Bancroft, of Chestnut Avenue, manipulated vulnerable girls, aged between 13 and 18-years-old, offering them ‘sugar daddy’ arrangements during 2016 and 2017.

Following a seven-week trial, the 68-year-old was found guilty on Monday, 13 December of four counts of rape, meeting a child following sexual grooming, paying for the sexual services of a child, attempting, causing or inciting the sexual exploitation of a child and attempting sexual communication with a child.

His brother, Graham Manicom, 62, of Hyde Mead, Waltham Abbey, also pleaded guilty to joining him on two occasions to sexually exploit the victims.

Bancroft used dating apps such as MyLol to make fake accounts to target the vulnerable victims.

The 68-year-old lied to the girls about his actual age, offering to be their mentor and pay them to participate in sexual acts with him, making them believe it was a mutual agreement. 

On occasions, Bancroft moved conversations onto WhatsApp sending up to 100 messages a day. 

Some of the victim’s subsequently met Bancroft in hotels around the country in return for money, gifts or food and were expected to pander to his sexual demands.

This included group sex and sado-masochistic acts. His brother also joined him in hotels on two occasions to take part in group sex.

Bancroft sometimes drove the victims to remote areas for sex or took them to his home address.

He also sent explicit photos of himself and persuaded the victims to do the same in return, sharing them on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Bancroft was charged in January last year after the victim’s sister became suspicious of who she was talking to online and reported him.

Following a lengthy investigation, he was placed on the sex offenders register in September after pleading guilty to possessing indecent images of children.

Graham Manicom pleaded guilty to paying for sexual services of a child (credit: Met Police)

A month before the trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Bancroft pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm against a child during sexual activity and 14 counts of taking, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

Bancroft then pleaded guilty to a further 15 offences in the second week of the trial.

These included paying for the sexual services of a child, causing or inciting the sexual exploitation of a child and attempted sexual communication with a child.

In the third week of the trial, his brother pleaded guilty to two counts of paying for the sexual services of a child.

Detective Sergeant Kelly Ryan from Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation team said: “Bancroft and Manicom are sick individuals who targeted vulnerable girls for their own twisted gratification.

“They are old enough to be the victims’ grandfathers and their manipulative actions have had a devastating impact for the girls they abused.

“The brothers had a significant power imbalance over the victims and they were extremely calculating in who they targeted and sought girls who were distant from their families, had financial worries or who had been previously abused.

“The seven victims who assisted police throughout this lengthy investigation have been extremely strong and brave throughout the trial and I sincerely hope this result will start to bring them some closure.

“I also applaud the sister of one victim who absolutely did the right thing by contacting us to share her concerns. This launched the investigation and uncovered the scale of Bancroft’s offending.

“I encourage anyone who has had a similar experience to that of the victims to come forward and report it to police. We will support you and take all reports seriously.”

Bancroft and Manicom will be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court in February next year.

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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