'Sexual predator' jailed for five years
A disgraced Suffolk soldier who groomed a schoolgirl for sex was yesterday jailed for five years by a judge who described him as a 'sexual predator'.Simon Russell, who was based at RAF Honington, befriended the girl when she was 12 and over the next few years progressed from kissing her to having sex with her, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
A disgraced Suffolk soldier who groomed a schoolgirl for sex was yesterday jailed for five years by a judge who described him as a “sexual predator”.
Simon Russell, who was based at RAF Honington, befriended the girl when she was 12 and over the next few years progressed from kissing her to having sex with her, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Russell, 42, was found guilty by a jury of four offences of indecent assault, three offences of sexual activity with a child and indecent exposure, which took place between 2002 and 2005. He had denied all the offences.
The jury found Russell not guilty of two offences of rape which he had also denied. Russell admitted having eight indecent images of children on his computer.
Sentencing Russell, Judge John Devaux said: “You told her not to tell anyone and she felt as if her choice had been taken from her. You are a sexual predator who targets vulnerable females.”
The judge went on to say that the jurors had to listened to “a lot of humbug” from him and he rejected a claim by Russell's barrister that he was now a reformed character.
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In addition to jailing Russell, Judge Devaux ordered him to sign on the sex offenders' register indefinitely and banned him from working with children indefinitely. He also made a sexual offences prevention order banning him from allowing a child to enter any house or temporary residence of his unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The soldier who had served in the Gulf War and in Iraq, Bosnia and Cyprus, spent 21 years in army and was about to be promoted to staff sergeant before he was dishonourably discharged.
Charles Myatt, prosecuting, said the plight of Russell's victim, who is now 19 years old, only became known to police when her boyfriend found text messages from the soldier on her phone. Russell told the court he had only had sex with the girl after her 16th birthday “because she instigated it.”
During the trial the court heard that Russell started sexually abusing the girl by pushing her up against a wall and kissing her on the lips. When the girl was 14, Russell started indecently touching her and the following year he had sex with her for the first time.
Juliet Donovan, in mitigation for Russell, said he admitted he was addicted to sex and that he needed help. She said he still maintained his innocence in relation to the offences he had been convicted of but accepted that he acted inappropriately by texting the girl.
Miss Donovan said Russell had been on bail for two years and there had been no further complaints against him in that time.
She said he was now the father of a six month old baby boy and was a reformed character.
He had served 21 years in the forces, but had now lost his pension and had debts of �20,000. “He has lost everything,” she said.