Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
York paedophile Neil Wilson jailed for two years
12:37pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in News
A PAEDOPHILE living in York who avoided prison after his schoolgirl victim was labelled "predatory" has now been jailed for two years by leading judges.
The judges stressed that vulnerable children who initiate sexual activity with adults need "more protection, not less" from the courts.
The Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas and two other judges at the Court of Appeal in London ruled that the non-custodial term originally handed out to Neil Wilson, 40, was "plainly and without doubt unduly lenient".
They quashed the original sentence of 12 months, suspended for two years, which was imposed in August after Wilson admitted engaging in sexual activity with the child, as well as offences of making indecent images of a child and offences of possession of an extreme pornographic image.
Complaints were made after the case at Snaresbrook Crown Court when it emerged the prosecuting barrister had described the 13-year-old girl as "predatory" and "sexually experienced".
Imposing the two-year immediate prison term, Lord Thomas said: "To reduce punishment on the basis that a person who needed protection was encouraging the commission of an offence is simply wrong."
Emphasising that the law was there to protect children under 16 from sex abuse, Lord Thomas said: "We agree with the submission of the attorney general that an under-age person who is encouraging sexual relations needs more protection, not less."
He declared: "The fact that the offender took advantage of what he asserted the victim did aggravated the offence. Therefore the attorney general is right to say that her vulnerability was an aggravating, rather than a mitigating feature."
Wilson, formerly of Romford, Essex, and now living in York, was not present for the ruling but was ordered to surrender to police at York, which a spokesman for North Yorkshire Police tonight confirmed he had done.
After the hearing, the attorney general said: "Neil Wilson exploited a young and vulnerable girl. He pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, making indecent photographs of a child and possessing extreme pornography.
"I asked the Court of Appeal to examine whether the sentence was appropriate, given the seriousness of the offences, and I am pleased that they have found that this sentence was unduly lenient and have imposed an immediate sentence of imprisonment."
Lord Thomas said there were aggravating factors and said it was "plain he had a sexual interest in children".
Lord Thomas said: "The only mitigating factor is his guilty plea."
Since the first hearing, prosecuting barrister Robert Colover has agreed to resign from the CPS Rape Panel of advocates, admitting his description of the girl was inappropriate.
Complaints about remarks made during sentencing by Judge Nigel Peters, who said he was taking into account how the girl looked and behaved, are being "considered" by the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office (formerly the Office for Judicial Complaints).
Jon Brown, NSPCC lead for tackling sexual abuse, said: "We are pleased that a more just sentence has now been imposed on this sex offender by the Court of Appeal, although the judge in the original court case should have done this.
"The handling of the case at the time was a perversion of justice and the depiction of a vulnerable child as somehow complicit in their abuse was a disgrace.”
Detective Inspector Simon Ellershaw, of the Metropolitan Police's sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command, said: "It is unfortunate when some within the criminal justice system perpetuate the myth that vulnerable young people are in some way to blame for the sexual abuse that they suffer.
"The sentence passed today at the Royal Courts of Justice goes some way to redress this.”