Plymouth ‘low life scum’ plied underage girls with drugs before sex
A MUM has branded a drug user as a “low life scum” after he admitted sleeping with her underage daughter.
Dale Hewitt, aged 25, faces years in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexual activity with two schoolgirls aged 13 and 14.
He plied them with drugs and handled weapons including knives in front of them, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
Hewitt entered guilty pleas on the second day of his trial – and has previously been convicted of abducting another 14-year-old girl.
The mother of the complainant in the latest case said outside court: “He is low-life scum. He goes on from one victim to the next.”
Judge Paul Darlow adjourned sentence until July 15 and freed Hewitt on bail as an “act of mercy”.
He ordered a probation report but told the defendant: “You must come to court expecting to go into custody.”
Hewitt ran from court to a waiting car, infuriating members of his victim’s family by waving at them as he was driven away.
Hewitt, of Marlborough Street, Devonport, pleaded guilty to four counts of penetrative sexual activity with one child between December 2014 and February 2015.
He also admitted sexual activity with another girl between April and December 2014.
Hewitt continues to deny other charges of rape and attempted rape against the girls and also threatening them with a BB gun on separate occasions.
Judge Darlow discharged the jury from returning verdicts on those five charges – which will be dealt with at sentence.
Manipulative Hewitt supplied both girls with mephedrone, or bubble, and sometimes cannabis before touching them sexually. He never asked them for any money.
One girl told the jury through her recorded police interview that she was “wrecked” on drugs and alcohol, but Hewitt still had sex with her at his old flat in Clifton Place, Greenbank.
She said she was always “scared” of Hewitt, who became aggressive and angry after taking drugs himself.
The girl broke down in tears as she recalled how she cried in the toilet the first time it happened.
His victims do not know each other.
Both girls said he showed them his weapons, including two knives and a sword.
Hewitt, in his version of events accepted by the prosecution, said that both girls were already using drugs when he started to share his mephedrone and cannabis.
The defendant added that he started off as friends with the girls, but accepted that he could become aggressive and angry towards them after using drugs.
He accepted that he had weapons on display and handled them in front of them – but said he never threatened or assaulted them.
Judge Darlow said he was releasing Hewitt on bail as an “act of mercy”.
The court heard that the starting point for the most serious offences is five years in prison.
The 14-year-old with whom Hewitt had sex later tried to take her own life, her mother revealed after the trial collapsed.
The angry mum said her daughter had been let down by the system as she waited more than a year for justice.
She added: “She tried to commit suicide and ended up in Derriford Hospital. She now has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is on medication.”
The mum, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “I am furious, this is the crime of the century. The law needs to change the way it deals with these girls.
“Hewitt is a low-life scum, he went from victim to victim to victim.”
The mother said that her daughter was ready to give evidence and face accusations that she was telling lies and exaggerating.
Hewitt’s guilty pleas meant that the 16-year-old did not have to appear in court for cross-examination
The mother, supported by several relatives and friends, said: “We feel let down, there was a year and a half before the trial began.
“Our little girl was ready to go into court and tell everyone what had happened to her. She was due to give evidence at 10am and we were told what was happening at 9.30am.”
The trial was held up while police and prosecutors built the case against the second victim. Hewitt was meanwhile tried for a separate abduction offence.
Judge Paul Darlow addressed prosecution and defence barristers privately about the late disclosure of Facebook contacts between Hewitt and the victims.
But the mother was angry that the judge released the defendant on bail as an “act of mercy” for a month before his sentence.
She said: “What kind of message does that send, that he is still walking the streets?”
Hewitt was convicted in February of the abduction of a vulnerable 14-year-old girl who was found on his flat.
The scheming defendant claimed that the girl had only popped around to use the shower minutes before the police turned up in June last year.
The offence happened after the sexual allegations involving the other two girls, but was tried first.
Hewitt had been served an abduction notice which obliged him to call police or social services as soon as he saw the teenager.
The girl had run away from home before, taken an overdose and formed inappropriate relationships with older men, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
A neighbour later called police because they heard Hewitt having a violent row with a female in the house.
Officers found the 14-year-old in the shower and found female items of clothing and toiletries through the home.
Hewitt said she had turned up minutes before officers arrived and asked to use the shower.
The girl herself made no complaint to the police, allowing Hewitt’s story to go unchallenged.
Abduction in legal terms need not mean grabbing a child from the street without their consent.
It can also include keeping them from the “lawful control” of their parents or legal guardians, with or without the consent of the youngster.
A jury convicted him of abducting the girl after a three-day trial.
He was found guilty by a unanimous verdict and sentence was adjourned – to be dealt with alongside the latest offences.