November 2013

Sex assault victim’s plea after attacker is locked up

A 22-year-old man from Timsbury has been sentenced to 21 months behind bars after pleading guilty to sexual activity with an underage girl.

Benjamin Maggs appeared before Bristol Crown Court on Monday after admitting he had sex with the teenager when she was 15.

He also pleaded guilty to groping the same girl in a sexual manner after chasing her down an alleyway.

His victim, who is now 17, and her mother have added their voices to demands to keep the existing age of consent at 16 in light of calls for it to be lowered to 15.

Judge Michael Roach described sexual activity with a person under the legal age of consent as a ‘serious offence’ adding that in the case of Maggs it was made all the more serious because he had already been warned by both police and the girl’s mother to put an end to the relationship with the girl five years his junior.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was in court with her mother to watch Maggs get sentenced and now hopes to be able to finally get on with her life and education

Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, told the Sunday Times this week that lowering the age of consent would make it easier for 15-year-olds to get sexual health advice from teachers and health workers.

But the teenager said: “When it first started I thought I had found a man with a car and ID who thought I was attractive and special, but when I think about it now I wonder why he would find a child attractive and appealing. It makes me feel sick. Looking back I think that at 15 you are too immature to consent.”

Her mother described the suggestion as “ridiculous”.

The victim said the abuse she had faced on social media for reporting the matter had been upsetting.

Maggs was ordered to be put on the sex offenders register for the next ten years.