November 2015

Ex Army Sergeant Major jailed after bullying and molesting young schoolgirl

A former Army Sergeant Major has been jailed for seven years after he manipulated, bullied and molested a young girl.

Bristol Crown Court heard how the girl had been self-harming with a razor blade and had suicidal thoughts, after the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of Steve Brooks.

The 55-year-old ex-soldier with an “exemplary record” in an Irish battalion had denied abusing the girl when she was aged between 10 and 13.

But following a trial he was convicted of three counts of causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, three charges of sexual assault on a child under 13 and sexual activity with a child.

Judge Michael Roach said the girl who cannot be named “had her life blighted” by what Brook of Elmwood Tree Road, Locking did.

The court heard how he touched her bottom, made the girl touch him and on one occasion stripped in front of her.

When she hit puberty Brook made her lower her trousers and show him her pubic hair in an incident described as “demeaning” by the judge.

“She did not like it, but did not know what to do to stop you,” the judge told him.

“You knew she was a vulnerable girl and she had problems at school that you knew about. She was being bullied, but you also bullied her.

“You told her that she should not tell her mother and her evidence was she was very frightened and she kept her silence.

“The fact of her vulnerability and that on some occasions you paid her small sums of money makes it very serious.”

The court heard the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, eventually told her mum and dad what had been happened.

“She was deeply affected and will be for some time by what you did,” the judge added.

Prosecutor Michael Hall read parts of a statement from the girl, who said her education and grades had suffered because of what was happening.

He said at one stage she was unable to control her angry and then turned to self-harm because the “pain took away the anger”.

Defending Clare Dowse said Brooks’ elderly parents were standing by and supporting him.

She handed in references from the Army, which showed he was “highly thought of” by his commanding officers.

“He knows what he is facing as a result of the verdicts. He says he will cope with any sentence by putting on his Army hat,” Ms Dowse said.

“He is somebody recognised as having a strong work ethic.”

Brooks was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order until further notice and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.