June 2017

Child rapist, 40, jailed after victim saw him in the pub years later

Paedophile Stephen Phillips has been jailed for raping a child – after the victim recognised him years later in the pub.

The 40-year-old raped and sexually abused a schoolgirl when he worked at a McDonald’s branch in Stoke-on-Trent more than a decade ago.

But the victim only reported the matter to police in 2015 after she saw the defendant on a night out and confronted him.

Phillips, of Chatterley Drive, Kidsgrove, denied rape of a child under 13 and assault by penetration of a child under 13 but was convicted by a jury at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

 Now he has been jailed for seven years after the judge took the view it was a one-off offence.

Prosecutor Jonathan Dickinson said the defendant was aged in his 20s when he raped and abused his victim.

Mr Dickinson said: “These offences were committed on the same night. She says the defendant began by stroking her leg before sexually assaulting her. Nothing was said. She described herself as being frozen.

“He then raped her. Although she was frozen at the beginning, she managed to struggle and push him off.”

The court was told the defendant left his job at McDonald’s soon after committing the offences.

The victim did not report the matter at the time but she came across the defendant in a pub in 2014.

Mr Dickinson said: “She recognised the defendant, confronted him and asked, ‘Are you still messing with kids’? The defendant hung his head and said, ‘No not any more’. She reported the matter to the police in January 2015.”

In a statement, the victim said: “I’ve tried to just push it to the back of my mind. For years, I was ashamed.

“Going to stand up in court is the most scary, daunting thing in my life. Now I’ve got my life back.

“I’m no longer a victim. I can finally move on with my life and put all this behind me.”

Adam Watkins, mitigating, said: “There is no suggestion of behaviour like this before or in the 12 years since.

“Of the rape itself, it seems to have been committed within a matter of seconds.

“The jury heard references to suggest that Steven Phillips is someone who has made a significant contribution to the church community.”

Jailing Phillips, Judge David Fletcher told him: “It was your sexual urges getting the better of you that particular night. The rape is a very serious offence. This was not specifically grooming behaviour. I take the view this is a one-off offence.”

Phillips will be on the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.