Two brothers from Merseyside, who used their positions as convenience store owners to groom young girls, were sentenced Monday (15) after being found guilty of 30 charges, among them rape and sexual activity with a child.
Ilvarasan and Vinothan Rajenthiram, Liverpool Crown Court heard, targeted nine 14 to 16-year old girls between 2010 and January 2016, offering them free sweets, mobile phone top-ups, alcohol and cigarettes in order to “win their trust and confidence”.
The grooming took place in shops in Birkenhead, Walston and Garston, which the pair owned. Many of the victims were regular customers or friends of customers.
Ilvarasan, 26, was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison, while his brother Vinothan, 27, received 18 and a half years. They were each ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.
The brothers would invite young girls to go for drives and listen to music with them, judge Norman Wright said, and after gaining the trust of their victims they would “take them back to unoccupied flats and ply them with alcohol”.
He continued: “(They) both abused their positions in the shops to target teenage girls.
“Victims mistakenly believed that these men genuinely had feelings for them and they didn’t realise they were being groomed and sexually exploited.”
One victim told the court that the Rajenthiram brothers had “ruined (her) life” and genuinely believed she shared “something special” with her abuser.
“I had not done anything wrong,” she said. “I was just a vulnerable, naïve child who should have been safe in his company.”
The mother of one of the victims remarked that their sentenced would “never justify the damage they have caused my daughter and all others involved”.
“The fact that those men pleaded not guilty sickened me and proves that they feel no guilt, shame or remorse,” she said. “They have no conscience in my eyes.”