Court hears how former Warwick man shared pot of £15,000 earned from child prostitution

A former Warwick man and a man from Coventry who forced a vulnerable child prostitute back on the streets night after night made an estimated £15,000, a judge has heard.

Thomas Entwistle formerly of Warwick.
Thomas Entwistle formerly of Warwick.

Thomas Entwistle and Martin Cantle, who are now both serving 11-year prison sentences, blew their gains on expensive clothes, food and other girls, and have nothing left.

Entwistle (26) formerly of Warwick but now of Dog Lane, Napton, and Cantle (24) of Oldbourne Road, Coventry, had been found guilty in February of controlling a child prostitute and supplying her with cocaine.

After jailing them following the trial at Warwick Crown Court, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC adjourned a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act for an investigation into their finances.

At the resumed hearing, with Entwistle in the dock and Cantle appearing via a video link from HMP Long Lartin, prosecutor Paul Prior said the relevant period for assessing their benefit from the girl’s prostitution was from mid-April to mid-July 2014.

“A benefit of £15,000 has been assessed, on the basis of an average earning of £250 a night, and based on a five-day week over the course of that three months.”

But Mr Prior said that neither man, who the jury heard had blown the money they took from the girl on clothes, food and other girls, had any available assets.

So Judge Lockhart ruled that they had each had a benefit of £7,500 – and ordered that a nominal £1 should be confiscated from each of them, with one day in prison in default.

By making such a nominal order under the Proceeds of Crime Act, it means further sums can be seized from them if they have any assets in the future.

Robery Underwood, prosecuting during the trial, had said the girl was from the Leamington area but had been in foster care from which she had absconded, sometimes ending up sleeping in derelict buildings and taking alcohol and drugs.

“We say it was that vulnerability that these two defendants preyed on. For a period of months in 2014 they groomed her and coerced her and controlled her.

“They were her pimps and helped themselves to the money she earned out on the streets as a sex worker. She was then 17, and in the eyes of the law still a child. She was, we say, the victim of child sexual exploitation.

“As a result they would profit financially. They made sure of this by transporting her to and from Hillfields and supervising and controlling her activity.”

They began demanding that she work ever-longer hours on the street, sometimes from 6pm to 6am.

“Thereafter collecting her and taking part or all of the money she had earned, often in excess of £400 a night, and plying her with cocaine to make her vulnerable to their campaign.”

But Mr Underwood said the girl ‘finally built up the courage’ to go to the police, describing Cantle as the ‘puppet-master’.

Sentencing Entwistle and Cantle, Judge Lockhart had said that although the girl may have seemed street-wise, she was ‘in every sense vulnerable.’

“She may have fallen into the position where she was working as a child prostitute, but I am quite clear this moved into a wholly different situation once you Entwistle got to know her.

“This went on for some time, and you made her dependent on you. You were aware she was vulnerable and sought to turn this to your advantage.

“By then you had become friends with Martin Cantle, with whom you shared an interest in young girls and drug supply, and you worked as a team.

“You Cantle suggested she might work for you as a prostitute. You preyed on a vulnerable young girl in care who had turned to prostitution, and used that to your advantage.

“You two controlled her life in every sense. Night after night you two forced her out on the street in the highly dangerous area of Hillfields to work as a prostitute.

“You two treated her as your property. No person has a right to treat another human being in that way.”