March 2015

A MIDDLE-AGED man who described having sex with a girl aged 15 as “stepping over the mark” was told by a judge he had grossly understated the crime.

Neil Bees, 44, used the words in a letter he wrote for his young victim, with whom he had full sex five times, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC, who said police should consider whether Bees’ letter should be forwarded to the teenager, told him: “What you did was very serious and you need to understand that.

“To refer to it in a letter to the victim as ‘stepping over the mark’ is to understate it very, very substantially.”

Bees, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to eight charges of having sexual activity with a child.

The court heard three of the charges involved improper touching and the remainder involved full intercourse.

Though he shared cannabis with the girl it was not to facilitate sexual activity, the court was told.

Judge Mercer QC jailed him for four years and told him to register as a sex offender for life.

Bees was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order, banning him from unsupervised contact with youngsters.

Kenneth Bell, prosecuting, said the girl had just turned 15 when Bees talked to her in a sexualised way before touching her improperly.

The touching later moved on to intercourse.

Bees told the girl he knew it was wrong and he had tried to stop it, but it continued.

The victim became very upset, the court heard, and in floods of tears reported to her schoolmate what was going on.

Mr Bell told the court: “She said he didn’t hurt her and she liked him, but she was very upset. It was reported to teachers and the police.”

Bees fully accepted what the girl said and told police he realised he had taken advantage of her.

The court heard he had no relevant previous convictions.

Anna Midgley, defending, said: “He is at pains to say to (the girl) it was entirely his responsibility and his fault.

“He should have known better and she should not blame herself for it. He understands the court will be looking at a substantial prison sentence.

“He is deeply sorry for himself. He is deeply sorry for the psychological injuries he’s inflicted on (the girl).

“His remorse is apparent.”