Justice Reuters

A judge has jailed two men for 40 months each for their rape of an 11-year-old girl who he called a "willing participant".

Despite the victim being five years below the legal age of consent in the UK, Roshane Channer and Ruben Monteiro got a light sentence after Judge David Farrell QC agreed with their defence claim that she looked like she was 14.

The defendants, who are both 21, had sex with the girl on a landing in a block of flats in Luton while they were filmed.

The court heard that Channer had sex with the girl while Monteiro engaged in oral sex with her. The entire ordeal was captured on camera.

The CPS is considering an appeal to get harsher sentences imposed on the defendants. The Sexual Offences Act recommends a prison sentence of between 10 and 13 years for rape of a child under 13.

Jo Wood, a Rape Crisis spokesperson, said: "It is horrendous that any judge can even begin to imagine that an 11-year-old child is capable of consenting to being simultaneously raped by two men while being filmed.

"This youngster was not capable of consenting to the horrors of what was being done to her."

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was with a group of teenagers near the flats when Channer and Monteiro joined them, the court heard.

Farrell said: "Despite her age it is accepted that she was a willing participant, but the law is there to protect young girls from this type of behaviour and to protect them from themselves.

"The girl had clearly been subjected to systematic sexual exploitation and you willingly used her for your own sexual gratification.

"It is aggravated by the fact that the event was being videoed."

Police became involved when the footage began circulating and was found on one of the defendant's phones.

Wood continued: "There are no excuses for these two young men who freely admit that they thought she was 14 years old. Fourteen is still below the age of consent and their actions would still have constituted rape had she been 14.

"For a judge to state 'despite her age it is accepted she was a willing participant' is a damning reflection on how far the judiciary still has to go to even start to understand the whole issue of rape, consent and criminality.

"Does this mean that destroying a child's innocence has so little importance in today's world and does it mean that rape is such a trivial matter that it can so easily be brushed aside?"