Gran jailed for abusing schoolboy and using him as a “sexual plaything”
This is the face of a pensioner jailed for stealing the virginity of a underage schoolboy after her original suspended sentence was quashed.
Marie McCarthy, 62, will be in prison for Christmas after her suspended sentence was overturned by top judges today.
She abused the boy over a five-week period
She admitted four counts of indecent assault in August, but was allowed to walk free from the city’s crown court.
Yesterday, after a reference by the solicitor general Robert Buckland QC, three top judges said that was far too soft and jailed McCarthy for three-and-a-half years.
Mr Buckland, an MP, said: “I referred the case to the Court of Appeal as I felt the original sentence failed to fully reflect the seriousness of the crime, which involved Marie McCarthy grooming and indecently assaulting a person who was significantly younger than herself many times over a period of five weeks.
“I hope this immediate prison term sends a strong message that crimes of this nature will not be tolerated and that male and female victims and perpetrators will be treated equally before the law.”
Lord Justice Davis, sitting at the Court of Appeal, said the suspended term was “unduly lenient” and that a stretch in jail was the least she deserved for the prolonged abuse.
“This was sustained,” said the judge. “It went on and on and on.”
McCarthy groomed the boy and used him as her “sexual plaything”, coercing him into taking part.
Some of the abuse took place when her five-year-old son was in the same room, watching television.
McCarthy told him he would get into trouble if he told anyone and continued abusing him even after she was warned off.
There were over 30 incidents, but they remained a painful secret for the victim before he finally felt able to speak out.
McCarthy, of Enid Street, Toxteth , was arrested, quizzed and, on the day she was due to stand trial, pleaded guilty.
Despite describing McCarthy’s crimes as “shameful and grotesque”, Judge Denis Watson QC gave her a 21-month suspended sentence.
But using powers to ask for sentences to be reviewed, Mr Buckland referred the case to the Court of Appeal today.
Fighting to keep her free, McCarthy’s barrister Michael Davies said her client was vulnerable and that prison might be “unduly harsh” for her.
She had battled with alcohol, attempted suicide twice, had been in personal turmoil at the time of the abuse and done nothing wrong in her life since.
But giving judgment, Lord Justice Davis said the victim had felt “degraded and humiliated” by what McCarthy had done to him.
Jailing her for three-and-a-half years, he said: “She seems to have been a very good grandmother. It’s a great pity.”
McCarthy was ordered to hand herself in to Copy Lane police station by 4.30pm to start serving her sentence.
Woman who stole virginity of schoolboy walks free from court
A woman who stole the virginity of a teenage boy less than half her age has come face-to-face with him almost 30 years later in court.
Marie McCarthy’s victim, who was 15-years-old at the time of the assault, angrily stormed out of the courtroom today when a judge let the 62-year-old walk free.
Liverpool Crown Court heard McCarthy, then 33, groomed the boy over the course of a six-week summer holiday
Lee Bonner, prosecuting, told the court that at the start of the school summer holidays in 1986 McCarthy visited the boy’s mum and when he came downstairs in a towel to get something for his bath she wolf-whistled at him.
As he left the room he heard McCarthy telling his mum that if she went after him he “would go up the stairs as a boy and come down as a man.”
While he was in the bath she came in, plunged her hand into the water and grabbed his private parts and after making a sexual remark she left laughing.
A week later she sat next to him wearing a tight nightdress and began stroking different parts of his body.
She helped him undress, before they had sexual intercourse.
“He did not fancy her but did not know how to stop what was happening,” said Mr Bonner.
McCarthy “orchestrated” about 30 other occasions when they were alone for various sexual activity and he felt coerced into taking part.
Eventually he told his mum’s partner who said he would sort it out but McCarthy continued her abuse of him.
The victim only came forward and told police about the sexual assault last year.
McCarthy, of Hurst Park Drive, Huyton, Liverpool, admitted four offences of indecent assault and was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment suspended for two years.
She was also placed under supervision for two years with attendance on a probation project and ordered to sign the sex offender’s register for 10 years.
Judge Denis Watson, QC, said, “As you look back now at your behaviour then as a mature 33-year-old towards a 15-year-old boy I hope you realise how shameful and grotesque it was.
“You manipulated him for your own sexual advantage, you groomed him.
“You knew the riot of emotions he as a 15-year-old was going through as adolescence and puberty sent him one way and then the other.
“You used him as your sexual plaything.
“I hope you now realise your behaviour has cast a shadow over his life for the last 29 and a half years.
“An appalling shadow which had had a real impact upon him.”
“You deserve to go to prison for what you did, it was not a one off but a string of different sexual acts against him that summer.
“The very fact that he came forward last year to tell someone tells you it is not something he has been able to leave behind at all.”
But he added he took into account her various health problems, good character and guilty pleas.