Paedophile receives suspended sentence after admitting sex with 13 year-old "predatory" school...

Paedophile receives suspended sentence after admitting sex with 13 year-old "predatory" school girl

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“Predatory” isn’t a word often used to describe 13 year-old victims in sex-cases, but in the case of Neil Wilson, who pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13 year-old school girl, this is what the victim was described as, by both the prosecutor and the judge.

41 year-old Wilson received an 8 month suspended sentence for various offences, including taking a 13 year-old girl back to his home, allowing her to take off her school uniform and engage in a sex act with him.

This would appear to be an offence under Sexual Offences Act 2003 s 9 – sexual activity with a child. Penetrative activity with a child attracts a starting point of 4 years according to the guidelines (see page 53). The range suggested is 3 – 7 years. If the act is “contact between the naked genitalia of the offender and naked genitalia of the victim or another part of victim’s body, particularly face or mouth” then the starting point is 2 years and the range is 1 – 4 years.

In addressing the Court, the prosecutor is reported as having said:

The girl is predatory in all her actions and she is sexually experienced.

She appeared to look around 14 or 15 and had the mental age of a 14 or 15 year old despite being younger than that.

There was sexual activity but it was not of Mr Wilson’s doing, you might say it was forced upon him despite being older and stronger than her.”

Judge Nigel Peters told Neil Wilson, 41, he had also taken account the fact the child looked older. Prosecutor Robert Colover, told the judge: ‘The girl is predatory in all her actions and she is sexually experienced.’ Wilson lured the teenager to his home in Romford, Essex, where he watched her strip out of her school uniform before she performed a sex act on him. The abuse did not come to light until the girl confided in a friend who then told police. During a search of Wilson’s home officers also uncovered a stash of vile images and videos depicting child abuse and bestiality. He pleaded guilty to two counts of making extreme pornographic images and one count of sexual activity with a child and was handed a suspended sentence at Snaresbrook Crown Court. Judge Peters told him: ‘You have come as close to prison as is imaginable. ‘I have taken in to account that even though the girl was 13, the prosecution say she looked and behaved a little bit older. ‘You knew she was not nearly 16 as she said and your plea of guilty recognises that you knew. ‘Allowing her to visit your home is something we have to clamp down on and in normal circumstances that would mean a significant term in prison. ‘On these facts, the girl was predatory and was egging you on. ‘That is no defence when dealing with children but I am prepared to impose a suspension.’ – See more at: http://www.courtnewsuk.co.uk/online_archive/?name=predatory&sa=Search#results

These astonishing comments have sparked concerns that Wilson was sentenced on the basis that the 13 year-old victim was complicit in her own abuse, despite being well below the age of consent, and the 28 year age gap between her and Wilson.

Wilson was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court by HHJ Nigel Peters, who said:

You have come as close to prison as is imaginable. I have taken in to account that even though the girl was 13, the prosecution say she looked and behaved a little bit older. You knew she was not nearly 16 as she said and your plea of guilty recognises that you knew.

Allowing her to visit your home is something we have to clamp down on and in normal circumstances that would mean a significant term in prison. On these facts, the girl was predatory and was egging you on. That is no defence when dealing with children but I am prepared to impose a suspension.

We don’t have full details of the extent of the offending behaviour, but The Independent has reported that eight images of child sexual-abuse and eleven sexual images involving horses and dogs were found on Wilson’s home computer.

As part of his sentence Wilson will be supervised by the probation service for 3 years, must attend a sex offenders’ program, is banned from contacting children and must allow the police to examine his computer.

Wilson now faces a review of his sentence by the Attorney General, who could refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal if it is believed to be “unduly lenient”.  We will know whether this case will be referred  within 28 days, whereon this post will be updated.

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Sara is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers practising in crime.

13 COMMENTS

  1. What reason is there to describe the offender as a “paedophile”?

    There was a guilty plea. The prosecutor did the defence’s job, of making a plea in mitigation. That is not exactly an everyday occurrence. The judge was right. The victim’s behaviour is no defence. But it is the basis of a plea in mitigation.

  2. Everything in this day and age is a minefield. The words #13 years old, #little innocent girl, #schoolgirl, #under the age of consent scream abuse and there is no excuse as to the fact this man knew the girl was below the age of consent BUT, this “girl” is definitely a lot older in her mind than her mere 13 years state and knew her own mind I agree with the judge having labelled her predatory but I can’t quite agree with him being labelled a paedophile.

  3. No: there is another word, I can’t think of it, for a man who (putting it very coarsely) likes his fruit nearly but not quite ripe. The fact is that this man allowed a girl under the legal age to come to his house and there engaged in intercourse with her. Legally she is not complicit but I see nothing wrong with saying that her state of mind was such that if it were possible in law she would be; which is an excellent reason for keeping the sentence short but not, I suggest, for suspending it. If the Daily Hate Mail is breathing fire about it that proves only that not even that loathsome apology for a newspaper can be wrong all the time, hard though it tries.

    Whether it is so wrong as to call for an A-G’s reference is another question. I will watch it with interest.

  4. Wilson was a bit of a weirdo, judging by the nasty porn found in his house, and he took what was on offer from the girl – and it did appear that it was ‘on offer’. Only later did she have a change of heart, for whatever reason and cried rape. Of course he shouldn’t have done it, and of course he is guilty, but neither should she have ‘led him on’. I don’t know the full legal aspects of children’s responsibility, but casting my mind back to my own teenage years over half a century ago, I know that being below the age of consent doesn’t make you in to an innocent angel. So I feel that some mitigation may be justified. As much as anything else it reduces the use of accusations as a way of getting back at someone who engaged in consensual sex with a minor, and then fell from grace (or refused blackmail) etc.
    But of course I am thinking of aspects of justice, not The Law.

  5. Hopefully the judges full remarks will be made available so that more informed commentary can be passed on this.

    On the face of it, with the limited quotes and reporting we have thus far, it is easy to leap to conclusions. Twitter obviously went ballistic last night, with “popular” tweeters like Owen Jones and Louise Mensch passing hyperbolic comment to their numerous followers without being in full possession of the facts. Context is key, but sadly social media mob justice is all the rage

    David Allen Green tweeted this morning: pretty much spot on

    “Modern news cycle: event; incomplete news report; social media anger at incomplete news; comprehensive news report about social media anger.”

    FYI, small typo in the article title

  6. Forgetting the public outcry for a moment, what I cannot understand is why it is not fair comment to suggest that the culpability of an individual who is approached, and metaphorically pounced upon, by their victim is less than if that individual groomed their victim to the point where they consented. The use of the word ‘predator’ was wrong because of the impact that it might have on the victim who is clearly a very vulnerable child but in principle culpability must be lower and if put very carefully must be a valid submission.

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