Paedophile teen locked up

TEENAGER Benjamin Steward is locked in a young offenders' institution today after admitting unlawful sexual activity with three children.

Colin Adwent

TEENAGER Benjamin Steward is locked in a young offenders' institution today after admitting unlawful sexual activity with three children.

At his sentencing, it was said Steward, of Bradley Street, Ipswich, had an “inappropriate attraction to young girls” and could well commit the same offences again.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the 19-year-old was even intimate with two young teenagers while awaiting trial for getting a girl aged under 11 to perform a sex act on him.

It was made clear that none of the victims were forced to engage in the sexual activity but Steward took advantage of their feelings for him.

Judge Anthony Bate told Steward: “You pose a high risk of re-offending. You seem to have little insight into the gravity of your actions.

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“You are plainly an immature young man who possesses a superficial, easy charm and you were flattered by these girls' attention.”

Judge Bate said at least two of the victims had suffered in the aftermath of Steward's arrest, with one being bullied by people who took his side.

Another girl's upbringing has also been disrupted. Reading from her victim impact statement Judge Bate said: “He destroyed my life. I have a nightmare of him sitting there. I thought he cared.”

Richard Potts, mitigating, stressed his client was lacking in maturity.

He said: “It seems quite clear that he didn't have the thought processes properly working that led him to step back from what was clearly happening and so clearly wrong, as someone in the grasp of their maturity would have done.

“It is also clear, again acknowledging there can be no consent (due to legal age of victims), in any of these cases none of the victims were forced in any way into doing what happened.”

Previously, Simon Spence, prosecuting, said Steward - who was aged 17 at the time - engaged in sexual activity with a girl aged under 11.

After being charged and bailed for that offence Steward was involved with a young teenager a year later. On that occasion he put his hands down her jeans and touched her, while she touched him.

After this offence he then had sexual contact with another teenager on two separate occasions.

Steward, who pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, and causing or inciting sexual activity with a child, was given sentences, which totalled 46 months but two of these were concurrent, which means his sentence is 30 months.

The teenager also has to sign the Sex Offenders' Register indefinitely and can have no unsupervised contact with children for ten years.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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