May 2017

Ex-butcher locked up for sexually abusing young girls

A former butcher has been jailed after a jury convicted him of having sexually abused two young girls in the early 2000s.

Lee O’Reilly had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a total of 13 charges of indecent assault – nine in relation to one girl and four in relation to a second victim.

But after more than 11 hours over the course of three days, the jury found O’Reilly guilty of all 13 charges.

O’Reilly, aged 56 of the Hinksford Mobile Home Park, near Kingswinford, was jailed for five-and-a-half years and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

Prosecutor Peter Cooper had told the jury: “There is very little issue that the conduct alleged would be indecent assaults, the issue is whether these things happened at all. The defendant says they did not.”

He said the two victims are now in their late 20s, but the incidents took place some years ago, with the offences against one girl taking place when she was 12 or 13, and against the other girl when she was nine or 10.

At the time O’Reilly was living at an address in Nuneaton, and working as a butcher in the town.

“Throughout, it seems, he moved one step at a time, perhaps a process of grooming, getting her used to one form of touching and then moving on to something different,” commented Mr Cooper.

In a bid to get him to stop, she even put a note to him in the middle of some flyers at his shop – but in fact did not tell anyone until after O’Reilly’s other victim had come forward.

That girl had told a cousin at the time that O’Reilly had touched her when she was about 10.

But matters were not reported to the police until 2015 after the young woman felt things were still weighing so heavily on her mind that she had to come forward.

And as a result of the police investigation, O’Reilly’s other victim also then made a complaint against him.

But he denied any of the incidents happened, although he accepted there had been an occasion when one of the girls had complained of him touching her leg.

After the jury had returned its verdicts, four of them unanimous and nine by majorities of 10-2, Mr Cooper pointed out that the maximum sentence at the time was ten years – although under current legislation some could now result in life sentences.

Jailing O’Reilly, Recorder Michael Burrows told him: “I have to sentence you for 13 offences of indecent assault.

“Since then, apart from a caution for a very different matter, you have lived an unblemished life But these are serious offences. I have to have regard to the degree of harm and culpability.

“The maximum sentence for the offences under the Act for which I am dealing with you was 10 years.

“It seems to me that, given the trial you’ve had, the proper sentence would have been six-and-a-half years, but that is before I come to the mitigation, which reduces the sentence to one of five-and-a-half years.”