August 2012

Mum from Oldham jailed for five years after selling runaway schoolgirl to builder for sex

A mum who sold a runaway schoolgirl (not her daughter) to a builder for sex wept as she was jailed for five years.

Leanne Gilder, 26, of Radcliffe Street, Chadderton, put make-up on the 14-year-old’s face and plied her with crack cocaine at a drug den in Oldham before taking her to Manchester’s red light district to tout for business.

Habitual kerb-crawler Michael Booth picked up the women behind Piccadilly station, paying Gilder £60 before molesting the teenage victim in the back of his Transit van.

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Gilder treated the victim to a pizza with the cash she made before they got a cab back to Oldham.

The following day, Booth met up with the pair again after ringing Gilder and asking if the child was ‘doing business.’

The youngster refused and was later returned from Oldham to her home in Manchester by police.

Gilder, who has two young children, protested her innocence to child prostitution charges in a Manchester Crown Court trial where Henry Blackshaw, prosecuting, told the jury the youngster came from a troubled background which left her vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Gilder claimed that the she believed the victim was 18, and that they had been working together as prostitutes after meeting up that night at the Catacombs drop-in centre at Piccadilly, travelling together to Oldham to smoke drugs, and walking back to Manchester’s red light district in the early hours.

The jury rejected Gilder’s account after the youngster testified that ‘Leanne pimped me out because she got money over me getting raped’.

She was found guilty of controlling child prostitution, but cleared of inciting child prostitution after the court heard the youngster had been stopped in the red light district by police on another occasion. Gilder failed to show up for sentencing hearing in July, but was arrested and put in Styal prison on remand before being hauled back into the dock.

She mouthed ‘I’m innocent’ and sobbed as she was sentenced by Judge Michael Henshell, who told her the crime was extremely serious, and that she had seen the girl as a ‘commodity’.

Richard Orme, defending, said, the offences, which date back to October 2010, were out of character for shoplifter Gilder – and had occurred during ‘two days of drug-fuelled madness’.

He told the judge: “Whilst there was an element of financial gain, the existence being enjoyed at the time by Miss Gilder was one of immediate, chaotic gratification.

“Although Miss Gilder may not thank me for saying this, any sober-minded person may take the view that what has happened may be the best for her.”

Mr Orme added that the victim had not escaped from the house at Lyn Street, Chadderton, where she stayed with Gilder when she had got the chance, and had given a false name to police when they turned up investigating a separate matter.

Judge Henshell, sentencing, said this was ‘no mitigation’, because the victim was a ‘very damaged girl’.

Sentencing Gilder, who is barred from unsupervised contact with children by a sexual offences prevention order, the judge said: “You did not reasonably believe at the time she was aged 18 or over. The fact of the matter is that she looked her age, she is a particularly young looking girl and you had every opportunity to study her, because before you took her into town you applied make-up on her. You regarded her something that could be sold for money.”

Michael Booth, 44 of Moor Road, Padiham, Lancs, was jailed last month for 6 years, with an extended four-year licence period, after being found guilty child sex offences alongside Gilder.