Published: 14:53, 30 November 2018
| Updated: 07:41, 03 December 2018
A detective constable has praised a rape victim for her bravery to "stand against this vile bully" after her attacker was jailed for nine years.
After the verdict, Detective Constable Sanj Tanday of the missing and child exploitation team said: "We presented extensive evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, which proved Spiridon had committed two rapes against this teenage girl in Chatham and despite this he protested his innocence, forcing his victim to give evidence at court.
"This young lady must be commended for her bravery in coming forward and taking the stand against this vile bully. She has conducted herself admirably and I hope this verdict can offer her some closure and allow her to move forward with her life.
"I’d like to remind other victims who may have experienced similar offences that any report received will be taken seriously and in strictest confidence and that officers will investigate thoroughly to ensure any offenders are brought to justice."
Spiridon could not previously be identified because of his age but Judge Adele Williams lifted the order when he appeared for sentence.
She told Spiridon, who was a member of the C4 gang that featured in the Kyle Yule murder trial, if he had been an adult the sentence would have been 13 years.
She said: “I have seen you give evidence and you are, in my judgement, a mature 17-year-old – street wise. You felt at this time you could do anything, that you could get away with anything.
"I’d like to remind other victims who may have experienced similar offences that any report received will be taken seriously and in strictest confidence..." Detective Constable Sanj Tanday
“You have shown no remorse, no insight and you do not believe you have done anything wrong.”
Maidstone Crown Court heard in September the 15-year-old girl did not try to fight off Spiridon or run away because she had seen him with a knife under his jacket.
She told a schoolteacher she had been at the Pentagon Centre in Chatham with a friend in March when approached by a teenager, then aged 16, wearing a bandana on his head.
Spiridon told her to go with him. He took her away from her friends to a stairwell in the multi-storey car park.
He then asked her if she was sexually active and whether she had “given uck”, a slang term for a sex act, and whether she was going to do it for him.
The girl said Spiridon then forced her to perform the act.
Prosecutor Christopher May said the next day the girl was at the shopping centre again with friends, with whom she smoked cannabis, when they saw the teenager and other boys.
He again asked her to go to the stairwell. She tried to gesture to the others to go with her, but they didn’t.
“She was worried about the repercussions if she refused what he wanted,” said Mr May. “Afterwards, she was very scared and ran off to find her friends.”
“You have shown no remorse, no insight and you do not believe you have done anything wrong...” Judge Adele Williams
She saw him again on another occasion at the centre and he showed her videos on his phone of other girls performing the sex act on him.
The victim said in a recorded interview she knew the teenager was in a gang.
She said of the first time the teenager told her to perform the sex act: “At that point I was scared, because he’s like gang and stuff, and he’s got like knives and stuff.
“And, like, I would love to have retaliated, like hit him back or something, but I didn’t want to get hit or, like, stabbed or anything.”
He later contacted her on Instagram. She saw a photo of him wearing a face covering known as a “bally”, similar to the one he wore in the shopping centre.
Spiridon, who claimed the girl consented, was arrested at the carwash where he worked on March 24.
Mr May said the level of trauma to the victim had been very significant. She told in a victim statement that she was no longer the same person.
She had gone to the shopping centre regularly to associate with friends, but no longer went out. She was paranoid about walking home from school.
She added that she had flashbacks and was not eating or sleeping properly. She said of the rapes: “I feel disgusted about it.”
“It has clearly had a very significant impact on this young lady,” added Mr May. “There are elements of humiliation and degradation.
"I take the view she was terrified by what took place on that day and the next day. Your offending is grave...” Judge Adele Williams
“The defendant has targeted this young lady. He was disguised and masked. He described her as being stoned.”
Judge Williams told Spiridon, who wore a rosary around his neck: “You treated her as an object – an object to provide you with sexual gratification. You didn’t see her as a human being. You used her.
“She was a vulnerable 15-year-old. You humiliated her and degraded her. You intimidated her and put her in fear in order to ensure she would do as you told her.
“You were wearing a balaclava or facemask and you showed a knife to those who were with you before you took her away. All that combined to put her in fear, together with her believing you were in a local gang.
“You knew she had been smoking cannabis. I take the view she was terrified by what took place on that day and the next day. Your offending is grave.”
The judge said she had to bear in mind that Spiridon, who has previous convictions for robbery in 2016, was 16 at the time of the offences.
His name will appear on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely and a sexual harm prevention order was made for 10 years.
Michael Cogan, defending, said there had been a degree of peer pressure on Spiridon.
“It is likely he will grow and mature to understand he needs to change his behaviour,” he said. “He has been in custody for 10 months. He has used that time wisely.
“His life was in some chaos. A young defendant must see some life at the end of the tunnel. He wants to get away from the area and start anew.
“Those he went around with were anything other than a good influence. There are signs of maturity.”
An NSPCC Spokesperson said: “Spiridon is a dangerous predator who has brazenly carried out these despicable acts. His victim has shown incredibly bravery in speaking out, and helping bring him to justice.
“The trauma of sexual abuse can last a life time. In Kent the NSPCC is delivering its Letting the Future In service which helps children who've been sexually abused to rebuild their lives, so they can overcome the past and start looking to the future.”