Neil Wilson was handed an eight month suspended sentence after admitting he engaged in sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl at his home
A prosecutor has come under fire for describing the 13-year-old victim of sexual abuse as “predatory” and “sexually experienced”.
Paedophile Neil Wilson, 41, was handed an eight month suspended sentence after admitting he engaged in sexual activity with the girl at his home.
He walked free from court on Monday and is to have his sentence reviewed as being possibly unduly lenient.
Prosecutor Robert Colover reportedly told the hearing at London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court: “The girl is predatory in all her actions and she is sexually experienced.”
Judge Nigel Peters said he took into account that the girl looked and behaved older than she was when he decided Wilson’s punishment.
But the sentence could be reviewed after the Attorney General agreed to examine the case, and Mr Colover’s comments came under fire.
Children’s charity Barnardo’s insists that young people cannot consent to being abused, while the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) described Mr Colover’s comments as “inappropriate”.
Alison Worsley, deputy director of strategy at Barnardo’s, said: “It is difficult to imagine the torment experienced by the vulnerable victims of crimes such as these. Many turn in on themselves and have feelings of shame and even self-loathing on top of the psychological scars inflicted by the abuser.
“It takes immense bravery for these young people to relive their ordeal in a court of law and we must not forget that it is the abuser who is guilty and not the victim.”
A CPS spokesman said: “The language used by prosecution counsel was inappropriate. The transgressor in this case was the defendant and he bears responsibility for his criminal acts.”
Police also found images of child abuse and bestiality at Wilson’s home in Romford, Essex.
Wilson, now living in York, admitted two counts of making extreme pornographic images and one count of sexual activity with a child.
A statement from the Attorney General’s Office read: “The case has been drawn to the attention of this office as a possibly unduly lenient sentence.
“This means it’ll be considered by a law officer (the Attorney or Solicitor General) who will decide whether it should be referred to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme.”
Over 4,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the CPS to investigate the language used by Mr Colover.
The petition, which was started by a woman named Jo who described herself as a “survivor of childhood sexual abuse”, stated: “ It’s unacceptable that the Crown Prosecutor – the person who this young girl was relying on to help get her justice – used this kind of language in court.
“It’s a sad fact that this kind of attitude is commonplace within society and the legal establishment. We need to make a stand and send a clear message: It’s never the child’s fault.”
Freelance journalist Caroline Criado-Perez, who campaigned for Jane Austen to appear on £10 notes, said the prosecutor’s words were reflective of the sexism in UK society.
She was targeted with relentless abuse and threats on Twitter in the days following her banknote victory.
“This latest incident is the very frontline of the sexism that still pervades UK society,” she told The Independent.
“For two weeks, Twitter has been awash with rape and death threats against women who dare to speak out against abuse.
“The women are accused of ’provoking’ them. Now we have seen where this kind of attitude ends up…”
Huddersfield Daily Examiner