A sex offender who exploited teenage girls will be sent to prison after top judges decided his suspended sentence was ‘unduly lenient’.
Stephen Wilkinson, of School Lane, Elton, walked free from court in December last year after being convicted of a string of sex offences against three underage victims – one of whom fell pregnant.
The 24-year-old was originally handed a 21-month sentence suspended for two years after admitting two counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of inciting sexual activity with a child under 16 and one count of abducting a child at Chester Crown Court.
Court of Appeal overturns original sentence
But the Court of Appeal quashed the suspended sentence on Wednesday (February 10), sending Wilkinson immediately to jail for 27 months.
Lord Justice Treacy said that was the least possible sentence for the abuse Wilkinson had committed.
“The nature and frequency of the offending was such that only an immediate term of imprisonment was appropriate,” he said.
Wilkinson was 18 when he began a relationship with his first victim, who was just 13.
Within weeks, the relationship became sexual and she fell pregnant at 15, but had an abortion.
He went on to pester another girl for a sexual act and continued to contact another even when warned by police.
Tests conducted prior to the December sentencing revealed that Wilkinson was operating at a younger mental age than his 24 years, with an IQ in the bottom two per cent in the country.
But Lord Justice Treacy said Wilkinson had understood that his behaviour was very wrong and that there were serious aspects to his offending.
“There were multiple offences aggravated by the pregnancy, the effect on the victim and the ignoring of the warning,” he said.
“The appropriate minimum term that should have been imposed in this case is one of 27 months.
“A suspended sentence was unduly lenient.”
The judge ordered that Wilkinson hand himself in to Blacon Police Station on Wednesday afternoon to begin his sentence.
Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP, who referred the sentence, added: “This was a long-running pattern of behaviour by this man against girls who were vulnerable because of their age.”
“I did not consider that the original sentence reflected the seriousness of the offending, and I am glad that the Court of Appeal has put that right today.”