November 2003

Woman jailed for sex with boy

A MOTHER-of-four who admitted twice having sex with a 14-year-old boy broke down in tears as she was jailed for 12 months.

Reading Crown Court heard that Joanna James, pictured, had claimed “it had just been a bit of fun” but as her sentence was read the severity of her crime sank in.

The 33-year-old single-mum said she thought she had done nothing wrong because he was mature for his age and “pestering” her for sex.

But yesterday Judge Stanley Spence told her she should have known better as he jailed her for a year for indecent assault on a male under 16.

She was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and banned from working with children.

Judge Spence said: “You are a parent of four children and the boy with whom you had sexual intercourse with was about 14-years-old.

He may have been very willing, boys of 14 often are, but that is not the point, your actions were corrupting.

“You were 32, the boy concerned was 14. If roles were reversed and he was 32-year-old man and you were 14 there would be little difficulty in publicly saying this is very bad news.”

The court heard James befriended the boy, who can’t be name for legal reasons, after struggling to make friends of her own age.

“He began to visit her home on a daily basis, sometimes after school, sometimes during school hours,” said Lesley Bates, prosecuting.

“At sometime during the beginning Continued from front page of this year their relationship began to change, they began to get closer, talking more about her and her family rather than everyday matters.

“As they became closer they began to kiss and cuddle. He kissed her on the lips and she kissed him back.

“She was aware of his age and did nothing to stop it. It was a matter of days later the relationship went further and they engaged in sexual intercourse.

The court heard the first occasion happened in the living room of her Stuart Close home at about 10.30am after the boy asked if she wanted sex.

Miss Bates said: “Sometime later he got up and left to return to school.”

James admitted having sex with the boy on two separate occasions between January 1, 2003, and March 15, 2003, justifying it to the boy’s brother as being just a bit of fun, Miss Bates said.

James was arrested and interviewed by police. Miss Bates said: “She said in one sense she knew it was wrong but in some ways because he was sexually advanced and because he had been pestering her it was not wrong.”

Patricia Harding, defending, urged the court to pass a non-custodial sentence, telling Judge Spence that James had been suffering from loneliness, depression and a low self-esteem that makes it difficult for her to make friends with adults.

Miss Harding said: “The person she considered to be her best friend was a 14-year-old girl. She is lady who befriended [the boy] not because of any sinister reason but by her desire to be liked.

“Miss James is not a predator in any way shape or form. It has been agreed that the young man in question was a willing participant