Lawrence McNeil – Maldon

A Maldon man has been jailed after sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl in her bedroom.

Lawrence McNeil, 29, has been sentenced to two years behind bars after he sexually abused his victim last August.

McNeil, of Foster Road in Great Totham, abused the child, who was just five at the time of the incident, in her bedroom and told her not to tell anybody about what had happened.

After previously denying the charge of one count of sexual assault on a child under the age of 13, a jury found him guilty on June 21, this year.

He has since accepted his guilt and was today (Monday July 17,) sentenced to two years at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Prosecuting lawyer, Diana Pigott, said: “The victim was five at the time of the incident and was assaulted in her room. She was told not to tell anyone about what had happened.”

Mitigating lawyer, Nneka Akudola, said: “He now fully accepts the incident and accepts he is an individual who needs help. He has felt a great deal of shame in relation to this offence and it would appear he did not have the courage to come to terms with or admit what he had done before.

“It is behaviour that he is deeply ashamed of and embarrassed of, it was an isolated and fleeting incident, a moment perhaps of madness.”

McNeil, dressed in a blue top, sobbed in the dock as Ms Akudola spoke of his family.

Raised by a single mother, McNeil is since moving out from his home amid several incidents involving criminal damage to his property.

Judge David Turner QC said: “On June 21, the jury convicted you of the incident that happened last August in her home in an opportunist and shameful attack – you took sexual advantage of the victim.

“You were still denying the incident as little as two weeks ago. She had to give evidence in court at six years old.

“You crossed a boundary you knew fully well you should never have crossed and have been unable to face up to what you have done.

“It was opportunistic and exploitive and you encouraged silence in the child. You were trusted and you have gravely abused that trust.

“This seems to have been an isolated, brief and relatively out of character incident in a moment of insanity.”

Judge Turner QC sentenced McNeil to two years and he was also given a sexual prevention order to last for five years.

He was also required to sign the sex offenders register for ten years and a restraining order was placed on him restricting him to contact his victim or the victim’s mother for five years.


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