‘Cruel monster’ who preyed on underage girls jailed for 14 and a half years

·4-min read
Joshua Plunkett was jailed for 14 and a half years  (Met Police)
Joshua Plunkett was jailed for 14 and a half years (Met Police)

A “cruel monster” who befriended young teenage girls online before sexually and physically assaulting them has been jailed for 14-and-a-half years.

Joshua Plunkett, 25, lied about his age to convince one of his underage victims to send him nude photos before sending them to family over social media in a campaign of terror.

Croydon Crown Court heard that Plunkett targeted five teenage girls aged between 13 and 18, between 2016 and 2020 with several victims telling detectives he used ‘strangle holds’ on them. 

After targeting his victims online, he would then exercise coercive control and would publish graphic images of them online to punish them if they upset him or tried to break contact.

He broke the finger of one of his victims and bit her so forcefully that a complete mouth impression was left.

Plunkett’s offending began in 2016, then aged 20, when he started an online conversation with a 15-year-old girl.

As the victim started to feel Plunkett genuinely liked her, he started to ask her to send him intimate pictures of herself. 

She told him no because she was not ready and Plunkett responded by sending nasty messages and abusing her via text message. 

The victim eventually relented and sent him a series of sexual photographs.

In July 2017, Plunkett began a conversation with another girl then aged 13. 

He asked her how old she was, and she added a year to her true age and responded 14, but that did not deter Plunkett and he sent her a series of sexual messages.

His third victim first met Plunkett through Facebook when she was 15 and they started messaging. 

They met up in March 2018 when she was 18 and he was 22. As the relationship developed, Plunkett began demanding access to her social media accounts. 

In May 2018, Plunkett demanded her phone and when she refused he grabbed her around the neck and strangled her.

In June 2018, the victim ended the relationship. This angered Plunkett who logged onto her social media account and was abusive and rude and sent a number of explicit pictures and videos of them engaging in sexual activity to her friends and family. 

Plunkett’s twisted actions ruined the victim’s modelling career and damaged her self-esteem.

He met his fourth victim in 2018 when she was 15.

In September 2018 the two were play fighting when he deliberately took hold of her finger and tried to snap it, which resulted in a suspected break. 

Over the next four weeks he made a concerted effort to persuade the victim to retract her account that there had been any sexual element to their relationship. 

His efforts worked and she withdrew her statement in January 2019 but later changed her mind bravely disclosing the full extent of the abuse to detectives.

Released on bail, Plunkett snuck into her bedroom uninvited while she was listening to music and started punching her repeatedly in the face and head, causing her to fall to the floor. 

He then kicked her in the face giving her a severe cut to her forehead in front of her 12-year-old sister.

He then took the victim’s mobile phone and bankcard and left the scene. 

Plunkett, of Lewisham, was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on Thursday and will serve at least eight-and-a-half years of his 14 -and-a-half year sentence in prison, with the remainder to be served on licence.

He also received a 15 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will be on the Sex Offenders Register.

DC Natalie Franklin, the investigating officer, said: “Plunkett is a cruel monster who preyed on young teenage girls. 

“He would make their lives a living nightmare for his own twisted pleasure by abusing them with sexual, physical and emotional violence. 

“He is the personification of violence against women. Even when he was on remand awaiting trial he exercised his control by intimidating one of his victims and making her so fearful that she withdrew her statement.

“This was a complex investigation which involved hundreds of hours of enquiries to be carried out, but we were happy to work around the clock to make sure that Plunkett was brought to justice so he could not hurt and control any more young girls.

“I would like to praise the bravery of Plunkett’s victims who came forward and gave evidence. It cannot have been easy for them to re-live their traumatic ordeals, but their courage resulted in us being able to build a strong case against Plunkett which has resulted in him being put behind bars for a considerable amount of time.”

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