Luis Moreno
Luis Moreno, 66, was jailed for a string of sexual assaults that took place in ManchesterGreater Manchester Police

A "predatory" 4ft paedophile who was born with a hunchback spinal deformity has been jailed for 16 years for grooming and raping five schoolgirls over a ten-year period. Luis Moreno, 66, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on 9 December after being found guilty on nine rape charges and 11 charges of indecent assault.

The court, in Crown Square, had heard that the girls were just nine-years-old when Moreno targeted them, luring them into his home in Hulme, Manchester, to molest them. He gave them money he had made by selling illegal DVDs of Hollywood movies and pornography and began to repeatedly rape his victims.

The court heard how Moreno, who pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial, had frightened his victims by telling them that he could perform martial arts. The abuse was said to have taken place on a weekly basis. During the hearing it was revealed that five of his victims were left traumatised by his actions and some had battled personal problems in their adult lives.

Judge Andrew Blake told Moreno: "You had groomed these girls to do whatever you wanted them to do and they never told anyone. You didn't need to threaten them, although they were frightened of you because they knew you had practised martial arts. You had these young girls in your thrall and at your beck and call."

Speaking after the case, Greater Manchester Police Detective Constable Mark Watson said Manchester is a "safer place" without Moreno on the streets. He said: "Moreno is a predatory paedophile. He would systematically abuse them on a weekly basis, always in the same way and often while other girls were in the house, sometimes he would also film his abuse.

"The catalogue of his abuse is sickening and his charge sheet is one of the largest I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with. The scope of his abuse is demonstrated by the sheer number of counts of sexual assault and rape that he has been convicted of.

"I cannot imagine what these young girls must have been through and I have no doubt that Manchester is a safer place as a result of this reprehensible man being behind bars. I hope that this sentence demonstrates to the victims of these crimes that we will fight to achieve justice on their behalf."