September 2015

Suspended sentence for Rugby man who slept with 13-yr-old

A man who took a 13-year-old girl’s virginity has escaped being jailed despite being on bail at the time for having sex with another under-age girl.

Reece Checkley had denied charges of sexual activity with a child, claiming the girl had told him she was at college.

A jury at Warwick Crown Court did not believe him and found Checkley guilty of two charges of sexual activity with the girl at his home in October 2013.

But following an adjournment for a pre-sentence report to be prepared, Checkley, 22, of Wentworth Road, Rugby, was sentenced to two years in prison – but suspended for 18 months.

The sentence, and an order to register as a sex offender for ten years, will run alongside a three-year community order he was given in April last year for inciting a 14-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.

During his trial prosecutor Siobhan Collins said that Checkley, who was on bail for the earlier matter at the time, had sex with the 13-year-old at his home in October 2013.

But after he bragged to one of her friends that he had ‘popped her cherry,’ the friend told the girl’s father.

When she admitted it, Checkley was arrested, but answered ‘no comment’ when asked whether he had had sex with the girl and whether he knew her age.

The court heard that he was cleared of his earlier offence of sexual activity with a 14-year-old, after a jury accepted he did not know her age.

But he was convicted of inciting her in text messages to engage in further sexual activity after her mother had left him in no doubt of her age – for which he was ordered to take part in a sex offenders’ programme as part of a community sentence.

During his recent trial, Checkley said he made ‘no comment’ replies to the police because he was scared at finding out how old the girl was, and accepted that in his ‘defence case statement’ he had falsely claimed he had never met the girl.

Asked why, Checkley answered: “I was scared of people knowing I’d slept with another young girl. It’s such a coincidence I thought no jury’s going to believe me.”

Tim Harrington, prosecuting, said that in a statement the 13-year-old talks of her ‘embarrassment and humiliation’ and the massive effect the incident had on her family, while her mother talks of the girl having had her innocence taken from her.

Andrew Tucker, defending, said: “Since that time his behaviour has improved considerably and he has committed no further offences.”

Mr Tucker submitted that there was ‘a good argument’ that Checkley should be allowed to continue with the sex offenders’ programme, on which he was making ‘good progress’.

Recorder Stephen Linehan QC observed that although he had sex with the 13-year-old in October 2013, Checkley was not told he was going to be prosecuted until a year later.

And Mr Tucker said if Checkley had been charged earlier, he might have been dealt with for both matters together.

Recorder Linehan told Checkley: “You knew full-well her age, and you knew that it was a criminal offence because you were awaiting trial for a similar criminal offence.

“What you did had the potential to ruin that young girl’s life, and what you did was for your own selfish satisfaction.

“Your conduct was so serious that only a prison sentence is justified. The reason I’m not going to order you to serve it straight away is the considerable delay between this crime and sentencing.”