By Deirdre Tynan • 20 July 2021 • 15:33
A former First Minister of the British overseas territory of Montserrat has been jailed for 15 years, after he was convicted of sexually exploiting five girls including two 13-year-olds.
David Brandt, aged 78, groomed the girls by giving them money, phone credit and used one girl, aged 15, to recruit others to abuse.
A joint investigation by the Royal Montserrat Police and National Crime Agency uncovered evidence that he sent his victims thousands of Eastern Caribbean Dollars to have sex with him and send him indecent images of themselves.
Brandt, who led the Montserrat government between 1997 and 2001, was convicted of six counts of dealing in people under 18 for sexual exploitation and one charge of perverting the course of justice, on 30 June 2021.
The jury failed to reach a verdict in respect of a seventh count of dealing in people under 18 for sexual exploitation.
On July 19 he was sentenced at Montserrat High Court to 15 years in prison.
Brandt’s offences were carried out between September 2013 and June 2018.
He met one girl, aged 15, through his work as a lawyer. He groomed her and used her as a channel to other vulnerable young girls including two 13-year-olds.
He told the 15-year-old he wanted to abuse her and one of the 13-year-olds together and sent her 500 Eastern Caribbean dollars to arrange for him to abuse the younger girl.
Speaking of the 13-year-old, he told the older girl, “If she treat me good, I will treat she very good.”
The disgraced lawyer obtained indecent images of both 13-year-olds, one of whom he first saw when she was 12 and said he wanted “to be with her”.
Brandt was first arrested in September 2015. Officers searched his office and discovered sex toys, sexual enhancement medication, condoms and an unused mobile phone.
After he was charged with sex offences, he made five payments to one 16-year-old girl totalling over 2,000 Eastern Caribbean Dollars so she would not talk to investigators.
The case took so long to come to court because Brandt sought to delay the trial by appealing the decisions made by the numerous Judges that have been appointed to deal with the case.
He also attempted to have the data which was downloaded from his mobile phone excluded as evidence, which led to a significant number of Appeal Court Hearings and Privy Council Appeals on the matter.
NCA investigators built a case against Brandt from extensive phone records and text messages.
He promised to give a mobile phone and money in exchange for sex with a 17-year-old, whom records showed he paid a total of 3,000 Eastern Caribbean Dollars.
Phone evidence also suggested he had groomed this girl and the 15-year-old to have sex together while he watched.
He obtained two indecent images from another 16-year-old who introduced him to a girl who Brandt sexually abused between the ages of 15 and 17.
He paid both of these girls 1,900 Eastern Caribbean Dollars so he could abuse them together in his office.
NCA senior investigating officer Anne Farrelly, said, “David Brandt clearly posed a huge risk to children over many years.
“Evidence shows he did everything he could to groom and sexually abuse girls as young as 13 on several occasions.
“He plotted, paid money and relentlessly pursued these vulnerable young girls for his own sick gratification. He abused his position as an eminent lawyer and is also guilty of a huge betrayal of trust,” she added.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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