December 2007

Man jailed for sex with young girls

A MAN who had sex with a girl half his age and carried out a sex act on a second underage girl has been jailed for three years.

Lee Meikle, 27, pleaded guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old girl and carrying out another sex act on a girl aged 13 while he was drunk.

Meikle, who was separated from his girlfriend and their child at the time, went out drinking on June 2, then arrived at a female friend’s Southend flat, where he continued to drink, Basildon Crown Court heard.

The court was told his friend was in the flat with three young girls, some of whom were getting ready to go to a sleepover.

At some point that night, Meikle was left alone in the flat alone with two of the girls, one of whom had been drinking, and a teenage boy.

The court was told Meikle made advances to both girls and had consensual sex with one of them.

Judge Philip Clegg told the defendant: “You were very stupid and got drunk. You went to the flat and continued to drink.

“Irresponsibly, it would appear the woman allowed the children to drink too.

“The aggravating feature in this is two offences on two separate girls.

“You were twice their age. You should have known better, even if they had led you on.

“You are a grown man with family responsibility and a girlfriend of your own.”

However, Judge Clegg said he accepted Meikle’s defence lawyer’s assertion the defendant was not a danger to children.

The judge accepted the sexual activity had been consensual and the incident had been solely due to alcohol.

Meikle, of Mirror Steps, on Southend’s Woodgrange Estate, pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual activity with a child.

He was told he would remain indefinitely on the sex offenders’ register.