Celebrity photographer jailed for string of attacks on models
A brilliant celebrity photographer has lost his career and his freedom over a series of sordid sex attacks on half-naked young models at his studio during casting shoots.
Lee Cropper, 31, saw his career rocket after moving to London from Plymouth six years ago. He became one of actress Sadie Frost’s favourite photographers. He also took portraits of actress Billie Piper and his work adorned the front cover of Vogue magazine even though he had no formal training.
Today his career lies in tatters after he was jailed for 33 months at London’s Wood Green Crown Court for sexually assaulting a 24-year-old model on September 14 last year and two 22-year-olds on May 11 this year.
Cropper, who lived and worked in Haringey, North London, had also received a supervision order for another sexual assault on a model in her twenties.
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The victims were dazzled by his glossy portfolio of celebrity shots and felt they could not object to such a successful and well-connected photographer’s creepy suggestions.
Prosecutor Sandy Canavan said Cropper – nicknamed ‘The Mofo’ – booked ambitious models via an agency and used a different email address when he was blacklisted following complaints.
A total of five models made statements to police and more serious charges of rape, attempted rape and two more sexual assaults were dropped.
Miss Canavan said. “It was clear early on they (the casting shoots) were not legitimate casting sessions, rather an opportunity for the defendant to sexually assault the victims.”
Louise Sweet, defending, said: “His career as a photographer is over. There is no way he can go back to it. It is a small community.”
After publishing his first photos on Myspace, Cropper’s career took off and he was being commissioned within six months.
Cropper was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely, banned from working with children and vulnerable adults, forfeited his camera, computer and photographs of the victims and was made subject to an indefinite Sexual Offenders Prevention Order.