*Hat Tip: Phillip King
A former soldier and his accomplice who raped an underage girl when they were teenagers have been jailed for four years each, in what the judge said was one of the most difficult cases of his career.
Brandon Bowmaker, 21, and Callum Dowson, 22, attacked the girl on a railway line near Guisborough, Cleveland, in 2012 after threatening to leave her in the woods in the dark.
The girl told police she had already had consensual sex with Bowmaker – with Dowson nearby – before they both demanded sex with her, which she refused.
Aisha Wadoodi, prosecuting, said the girl was scared when they said they would abandon her, particularly as she was unfamiliar with the area, which by then was pitch black.
She repeatedly asked them to stop as they raped her, with both youths repeatedly swapping over, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Bowmaker, a former infantryman, was 15 at the time while Dowson was 16.
Judge Sean Morris, sentencing, said the victim and Bowmaker were too young to have consensual sex before the rape.
“Children will be children and they will experiment and explore,” he said.
He added: “This has probably been one of the most difficult cases I have dealt with.
“I don’t usually have to deal with children, I deal with villains.”
Addressing the defendants in the dock, he said: “You are men now, all three of you as the pre-sentence report describes, were children.”
Their victim read a statement from the witness box expressing how the ordeal had psychologically affected her and led her to self-destructive episodes.
Although she said life was too short to hate the pair, she said: “It is now time you paid for what you have done.”
They denied the crimes but were convicted by a jury last month.