A sexual ‘predator’ has been jailed for 24 years for multiple offences against children and young women over a 12-year period, dating back to when he was 12.

Ben Prothero, 26, of Metcalfe Close, Ross-On-Wye, pleaded guilty earlier this year to 17 offences committed between 2008 and 2020.

After his sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court last week, Detective Constable Emma O’Hare of West Mercia Police, who led the investigation, said: “Prothero committed these horrendous crimes against children and women over many years who weren’t able to defend or protect themselves.

“He was a bully, a predator and controlled them by hurting them and changing their lives forever.

“As pleased as I am with the lengthy sentence, the true tribute is paid to the victims, who not only survived despite his best efforts to break them, but who then showed immense courage and bravery in coming forward about his abuse and rapes.

“My hope is that this significant prison sentence will bring some measure of comfort to those whose lives have been forever damaged by his cowardly and predatory actions.

“This sentence needs to serve as a reminder to those who think that abusing women and girls will go unchallenged.

“Survivors are strong and with our support, patience and understanding an investigation will uncover the truth about their abusers’ actions, who will face consequences,” she added.

“West Mercia Police remains committed to seeking justice for rape victims and survivors, and we, the police and wider support services are here for them.”

The charges included:

  • Two counts of rape of a child under 13;
  • Five counts of rape of a female under 18;
  • Attempted rape;
  • Causing a female under 15 to engage in penetrative sexual activity;
  • Penetration of a female under 16;
  • Engaging in controlling/coercive behaviour;
  • Two counts of sexual assault on a child under 13;
  • Two counts of sexual activity with a child under 18;
  • Two counts of sexual activity with a child under 16.

He will serve 18 years in prison, with six years to remain on licence as a dangerous offender and is now listed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Prothero’s conviction and sentencing followed a long and thorough investigation by Hereford CID Vulnerability Team.

Anyone who feels they are a victim of any sexual offence can report it to West Mercia Police online, on 101 or via West Mercia’s Victim Advice Line on 0800 952 3000 or visit victimadviceline.org.uk.

This is a free, independent and confidential support service. In an emergency always dial 999.

If you do not feel comfortable speaking to police officers, you can contact a referral centre which specialises in helping victims of rape and sexual assault – including providing medical care and counselling.

For information and details on how to contact or refer, visit the Get Help page of the Stop Rape Now website stoprapenow.co.uk