Calculating Facebook paedophile from Henlow sentenced to 15 years in prison for sex offences after grooming two 13-year-old girls

Paedophile Mark Rayner has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Paedophile Mark Rayner has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. - Credit: Archant

A ‘calculating paedophile’ from Henlow has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing two 13-year-old girls – grooming one of them on Facebook.

Mark Rayner, 45, from Oldfield Farm Road, was sentenced today at Luton Crown Court, after being found guilty of 10 sexual offences and one count of possessing indecent images of children.

He had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing indecent images of children and one further sexual offence.

Rayner met one of his victims on the social media site in 2013 encouraging one of the 13 year olds to send him indecent images of her.

He was also in possession of a number of indecent images of other children on his mobile phone and computer.

After hearing he’d been charged with sexual offences, a second woman then came forward saying she’d also been sexually abused by him on multiple occasions between 1999 and 2000 when she was also aged just 13.

The woman told officers Rayner befriended her before going on to engage in sexual activity with her, despite knowing she was under the age of consent.

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Officers investigated and Rayner was subsequently charged with a further eight offences.

He won both 13 year olds’ confidence by calling or messaging them, before arranging to meet them and taking them to secluded areas where he sexually abused them for his own sexual gratification. Despite some of the sexual activity being consensual, the girls were under the legal age of consent – a fact he was fully aware of.

Det Con Mel Knight, who investigated the case, said: “This dangerous sexual predator took advantage of the young age of his victims by building a relationship with them then carrying out sexual activities with them, despite knowing full well they were under the age of consent.

“More than 10 years after he abused his initial victim, Rayner decided to take advantage of yet another innocent teenager, using social media to calculatingly groom his victim, encouraging her to send indecent images of herself to him before sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions.”

In the judge’s closing remarks Rayner was described as a persistent predator with an obsessive use of chat rooms, who used pure manipulation in order to prey on his victims who he knew to be underage.

DC Knight added: “I’m pleased Rayner will be made to pay for his actions with a lengthy jail sentence and I hope this result will allow his victims some form of closure.

“They have shown incredible bravery in coming forward and throughout this whole process – it shows if you come forward you will be believed and justice is possible.”

Margaret Mascarenhas from the Crown Prosecution Service added: “Due to their age, they were in absolutely no position to give true and free consent to the sexual acts.

“It is only due to the courage of the victims the disgraceful behaviour of this man has been exposed. I’d like to pay tribute to them all for their strength and tenacity in coming forward and providing evidence for the prosecution.

“The emotional impact – on the victims and their families – of the actions of this man is impossible to quantify.

“I hope the convictions and today’s sentence give some small comfort to them. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.”

Rayner must serve a minimum of 10 years before being eligible for parole.

He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and an extended licence period.

Anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse is encouraged to contact police on 101 to report it. You can also call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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