“She was a puppet”: Pimps kept 17-year-old girl under their control through fear and drugs
The teenager’s brave decision to come forward led to 11 years behind bars for two men
While many girls her age were chatting about the latest celebrity gossip or studying for their exams, a vulnerable 17-year-old was forced to have sex with strangers in alleyways and work as a prostitute on the streets of Hillfields.
The teenager was being pimped out by two horrific monsters who ignored her pleas to be let go and even held her captive for almost a week in their Coventry flat.
Martin Cantle and Thomas Entwistle have both been found guilty of controlling a child prostitute and supplying their victim with cocaine.
They are now at the start of an 11-year stretch behind bars and have registered as sex offenders’ for life.
Their reign of terror over the girl – who cannot be named for legal reasons – began in 2014 after Entwistle, 26, met her through a mutual friend.
The teenager was from south Warwickshire and had been in foster care almost all of her life.
She, Entwistle and other friends all went on a short holiday together in Cornwall, before the girl and Entwistle – who is now the father of a five-month-old boy – had sex upon their return.
He soon became aware that she was working as a child prostitute and he and Cantle, who were by now sharing a flat together in Wyken, Coventry, hatched their “wicked plan”, as described by Judge Andrew Lockhart.
They took advantage of her tendency to take drugs and soon had her hooked on cocaine which they provided to her.
They forced her “night after night” to go on to the streets of Hillfields where she had sex with men in alleyways, in customers’ cars and even at their homes.
The charges for her services were dictated by her two pimps who told her to ask for £40 for intercourse and £20 for oral sex.
During the opening of the trial, prosecutor Robert Underwood stated: “For a period of months in 2014 they groomed her and coerced her and controlled her.
“At their behest she prostituted herself in and around Hillfields, a notorious red light area of Coventry.
“They did so to satisfy their own personal greed. They were her pimps and helped themselves to the money she earned out on the streets as a sex worker.
“She was then 17 and in the eyes of the law still a child. She was the victim of child sexual exploitation.”
As time wore on, the teenager would try to find a way out of prostitution – a sex worker who gave evidence during the four-week trial at Warwick Crown Court said the girl “wanted to get off the streets” but “couldn’t get away from TJ as she loved him”.
TJ was the name that many people knew Entwistle by and the name the victim used for him.
Her pleas to Entwistle and 24-year-old Cantle to stop working on the streets fell on deaf ears and when they had enough of her complaints, they took drastic measures.
The jury heard how on one occasion the girl was held “captive” at the Wyken flat for six days – even having a duvet cover held over her head while she struggled to breathe.
The evidence came via the victim’s foster carer, who also said: “She told me that Martin and TJ had kept her captive in the flat, had threatened her and took her phone off her.
“They were saying that if she wanted the phone back then she had to go in to Hillfields to make some money.”
Another occasion saw the teenager left half naked in the street in the middle of the night to simply walk home.
On a rare meeting with her mother, the girl openly confessed to her she was working on the streets and told her of a time when four men tried to take her off in a car.
A host of evidence against Cantle and Entwistle came from the victim – who was in court when they were sentenced – and other young girls who knew them, including ex-girlfriends of Cantle.
One of them told the jury she wanted “justice for the things he has done”.
Entwistle, formerly of Warwick, but now of Dog Lane, Napton, and Cantle, of Aldbourne Road, Radford, had tried to convince the jury that all the claims against them were lies.
But guilty verdicts were swiftly returned on controlling a child prostitute and supplying her with cocaine – although a further charge of causing or inciting child prostitution received not guilty verdicts.
This meant the jury did not believe the girl was initially forced into being a sex worker.
One witness who gave evidence and saw the victim “slumped in the back seat” of a car while “screaming with her hands on her head”, summed up the horrendous effect the two men had on the teenager, by saying: “They manipulated her. She was a puppet and didn’t know anything else.”