Married Jehovah’s Witness mum who slept with a vulnerable schoolboy is jailed for two-and-a-half years
A married mother who was spared jail for having sex with a vulnerable teenage schoolboy is starting a two-and-a-half year jail term – after top judges ruled her original punishment was ‘too soft’.
Kelly Jane Richards started a relationship with the 15-year-old which eventually led to the pair having sex, after which she told him: “Don’t tell anyone because I might get done for this.”
The 36-year-old mother of two, of Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taf, admitted engaging in sexual activity with a child at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court in March.
She was handed a two-year suspended sentence and a sexual offences prevention order, after the Crown Court judge decided to be lenient.
But she has now been given a two-and-a half year jail term by judges sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, who said the initial sentence was “unduly lenient”.
Richards, whose husband has stood by her, was ordered to hand herself in at Merthyr Tydfil police station by 4.30pm on Friday.
The court heard she started a relationship with the teenager, regularly contacting him on his mobile phone and through Facebook and Twitter, in 2012.
When the boy’s mother became concerned about his ‘secretive’ behaviour and confiscated his mobile phone, Richards bought him a sim card so they could remain in touch.
Their illicit relationship was discovered after the mother grew more suspicious and recorded one of their phone conversations.
She went to the police and the boy, who was described as being “particularly vulnerable”, eventually told officers what had happened.
He said she had “treated him like an adult”, occasionally giving him alcohol and once asking him to give her a massage, before they had sex.
The boy had also told friends he was in a relationship with an older woman and that she was going to leave her husband for him.
Lord Justice Davis told the court that, while Richards behaviour might not have been grooming in the usual sense of the word, her actions towards the teenager were sexually provocative in the weeks before and after they had sex.
She had also tried to dissuade him from telling anyone and there was a big age gap between the pair.
The judge said the offending could not be described as a moment of madness, adding: “No doubt what happened was not planned and was impulsive.
“But it was, in effect, the culmination of sexual conduct which had been provocative in its nature, so far as Richards was concerned.”
‘Troubling elements of sexually-charged conduct’
Lawyers representing the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, argued that, in light of all these factors, the Crown Court judge should have imposed a stiffer sentence.
Richards’ lawyers said the judge had showed a degree of mercy, taking account of the fact she is the mother of two children and suffers anxiety and depression.
They also argued she had made good progress with the probation service in the months since her sentence was passed, and said that a term of imprisonment may result in her family losing their home.
But, jailing Richards, Lord Justice Davis said that, even taking into account all of the mitigating features, her original sentence was unduly lenient.
Sitting with Mr Justice William Davis and Judge Nicholas Cooke QC, he added: “This was a serious case of its kind, not least because of the very troubling elements of sexually-charged conduct of the offender before and after the sexual activity took place.
“Moreover, it has to be noted that her behaviour and her conduct have had a profound effect on the boy himself.
“As this court has repeatedly made clear, the protection of children is the paramount consideration in cases of this kind.”
Married female Jehovah’s Witness spared jail after sex with under-age schoolboy
A married Jehovah’s Witness has walked free after having sex with a 15-year-old schoolboy during a sleepover at her home.
Married mother-of-two Kelly Jane Richards, 36, fell in love with boy who visited her home to play on her children’s X-Box games console.
A court heard how the boy went to the Richards’ bedroom to comfort her after rowing with her after she rowed with her husband.
Richards, who was 18-years older that her teenage lover, ended up “astride him” on the marital bed.
Their relationship was exposed when the boy’s mother became suspicious and bugged his bedroom to listen in on telephone conversations he was having with the highly respected churchgoer.
The judge said Richards had groomed the boy but let off with a two-year-suspended sentence.
Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard how the vulnerable teenager was given support by the Richards family because they were all members of the same Jehovah’s Witness church.
Prosecutor Roger Griffiths said: “Their friendship and relationship began because the boy would visit Richards’ home to play on the X-Box.
“He stayed with the family on a regular basis and one night in October 2012 Mr and Mrs Richards argued.
“Mrs Richards was in her bedroom upset and crying .
“The boy and Mrs’s Richards’ son went in to stop her from crying and were supportive.
“But her son left and Richards started kissing the boy which led to full sexual intercourse.
“Mrs Richards was in her nightie, the boy was in his clothes – she was astride him. It was over very quickly.”
Richards, wearing a black suit and striped blouse, sobbed as the details were read to the court.
Her husband was sitting with members of the Jehovah’s Witness church in the public gallery.
The court heard Richards and the boy communicated daily through their mobile phones, computers and Facebook.
The boy’s mother was so concerned about their relationship she put a dictaphone in her son’s room so she could record his telephone conversations with the churchgoing mother-of-two.
Mr Grifftihs said: “In one conversation the boy was heard asking Mrs Richards if she was touching herself.
“The boy’s mother took his mobile phone from him but Richards gave him another Sim Card.
“During their relationship she gave him alcohol and asked him to give her massages.
“She said she loved him.”
Richards of Mountain Ash, South Wales, was given a two-year suspended sentence after admitting unlawful sexual activity with a child between October 31 and December 1 2012.
She was also put under a sex prohibition order preventing her from contact with males under the age of 16.
Sarah Waters, defending, said: “The Jehovah’s Witness community encouraged Mrs Richards’ family to help the boy.
“They took him to the cinema and went ice skating – in that context they became close.
“There was never any intention on her part to cross the line which it clearly did.
“But it was not a premeditated situation of exploiting him for her own sexual gratification.”
Seven letters of support were handed to the judge, including one from Richards’ husband of 13 years.
Members of her Jehovah’s Witness congregation described her as “bubbly, kind. family-orientated, happy, trustworthy and an upstanding member of the community.”
Judge Richard Twomlow told the court: “There was grooming, a significant disparity in age, specific targeting of a vulnerable child and she told him not to say anything which is a further aggravating factor.”
But the judge said there were “unusual features” in the case which allowed him to give Richards a two-year suspended sentence and a two-year supervision order.
He told her: “I give you credit for pleading guilty, your good character and that you have show some remorse.
“If you had not pleaded guilty the sentence would have been three years in prison.”
Richards was hugged by her husband as they left the court. The pair declined to comment.
Richards was ordered to register as a sex offender.
Married woman admits sexual activity with 15-year-old schoolboy
A married woman who bedded a schoolboy less than half her age has been told she could face jail.
Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard that Kelly Jane Richards had full sex with the 15-year-old in 2012.
The 36-year-old had originally denied seducing the teenager but today pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity with a child.
Richards, of Mountain Ash, broke down in tears as the single charge was put to her.
The court heard the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to pursue another charge against the defendant and that it would “remain on file”.
Despite being told Richards had no previous convictions, Judge Richard Twomlow said the offence was a “serious matter”.
He added: “I will reserve judgment on the matter for myself and I will take into account all the facts.
“All sentencing options remain open.”
Richards will be sentenced on March 23.