August 2016

‘Predatory paedophile’ jailed


Barnstaple dancer Thomas Lee, sentenced for five years in prison for grooming two 13-year-old girls online, has been described by the investigating officer in the case as a “predatory paedophile”.

Lee was convicted at Exeter Crown Court on two counts of sexual activity with a child today, and DC Louisa Sarney was “pleased with outcome of this case”.

“It has been traumatic for the children involved,” she said. “I would like to pay tribute to them for bravely standing up to a man who has been proven to be a predatory paedophile.”

Lee, 24, of Rackfield, Barnstaple, denied three counts of sexual activity with a child and was convicted of two.

He was cleared of the third allegation that he had sex with one of the girls in woodland at Fremington, Barnstaple.

DC Sarney continued: “Thomas Lee has lied throughout the investigation and ultimately had no thought for the damage he has done, not only by committing the acts he did, but by also persisting with not guilty pleas causing further distress.

“I would like to remind parents of the importance of their children ‘being safe online’ when using social media.”

Lee was convicted after a four-day trial in which the jury heard from the two girls how they agreed to meet Lee when they were both aged 13.

They made contact through Facebook and agreed to meet him after sexually explicit online messaging.