February 2018

Child sex offenders jailed after appeal by Solicitor General

Two men who sexually abused two 14-year-old girls have been sent to prison after the Solicitor General appealed against their initial sentences.

Lee Pollard and Marc Allen were originally sentenced at Exeter Crown Court in November to 15 months in prison, suspended for 24 months.

One of the victim’s mothers criticised the outcome.

The Court of Appeal has since quashed the original sentences and replaced them with immediate prison terms.

Pollard, 26, of Saxmundham, Suffolk, has been jailed for two years, nine months and Allen, 26, of Torquay, Devon, has been given three years and six months.

Pollard and Allen, who were convicted of sexual activity with a child after trial, both denied knowing the girls were underage.

The offences took place while the girls were under the influence of alcohol and drugs at a party in Dawlish, Devon.

In his sentencing, Judge Graham Cottle said the sexual activity was consensual and the girls were drunk when the men arrived.

But their case was referred to the attorney general’s office under the unduly lenient sentence scheme after one of the girl’s mothers criticised the outcome.

Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, said: “Despite knowing that the girls were only 14 years old Pollard and Allen engaged them in sexual activity and provided them both with alcohol and drugs.

“They have no excuse for their behaviour.

“I hope that the increased sentences will bring some comfort to the girls’ families.”

December 2017

Mum’s outrage at judge’s remarks that 14-year-old daughter gave consent to sex after being given drink and drugs

The mum of a 14-year-old girl has reacted with fury to comments by a judge in Exeter that her daughter had ‘consensual’ sex with a man during a drug-fuelled night-out.

Lee Pollard and Mark Allen, both 26, were given suspended sentences after being found guilty of sexual activity with two girls under 16.

The men, who were aged 24 at the time, gave the girls booze and amphetamines before engaging in oral and full sex with the 14-year-olds.

Judge Graham Cottle said the sexual activity was consensual and the girls were drunk and ‘almost naked’ when the men arrived.

But the mum of one of the victim’s has hit back at the judge and the sentence.

She said: “I’m horrified to be honest.

“My daughter went out expecting to be in the company of females, she had no idea these men would turn up.

“I very much doubt she would have gone if she thought that was the case. She was not in a fit state to consent to anything and I’m appalled that the judge has deemed this to be possible.”

Pollard and Allen were found guilty at a trial in November after denying sexual activity with girls under 16. The jury found them guilty on the basis that both men, who were 24 at the time, knew all along that the girls were just 14.

The trial heard the girls had been drinking before the men arrived at the flat in Dawlish.

They came loaded with drink and amphetamine and a few hours later sent out for a delivery of condoms and more booze.

One of the girls had full sex with Pollard and both oral sex with Allen.

But it is the language used by the judge, as well as the prosecutor and defence lawyers in summing up the case, which has caused outrage from the girl’s mum.

All agreed sex between the men and girls had been consensual. The judge put the case in a lower sentencing category – ultimately allowing him to suspend the jail term.

He said he would not pass a sentence which condoned adult sex with girls under 14 but added the men had ‘been greeted by a scene they had not anticipated at all’ when they arrived at the house.

He said it was no responsibility of the men that the girls had been drinking before they arrived.

“By the time you arrived they were, if not completely naked, then almost. And there followed consensual sexual activity between the two girls and the two of you.”


November 2017

Girls, 14, praised for courage as two men are convicted of sexual activity

Police have praised the courage of two young victims after two men were found guilty of plying them with drink and drugs and having sex with them.

The two girls were aged just 14 when they went to a flat in Dawlish were they encountered defendants Lee Pollard and Mark Allen.

The men were 10 years older than the girls and gave them amphetamines and drink before sending out for condoms, lager and vodka from an all night delivery company at 3.20 am.

Both men were found guilty of sexual activity with one or both of the girls after a four day trial at Exeter Crown Court.

After the case the detective in charge of the inquiry praised the courage of the victims and warned that online trolls who have posted abusive comments on social media are breaking the law.

Pollard, aged 26, of Higher Union Road, Torquay, and Allen, aged 26, of Teign View Chudleigh Knighton, both denied two counts of sexual activity with a child.

Pollard was found guilty in relation to one girl and Allen to both and Judge Graham Cottle adjourned both their sentences for probation reports.

Pollard suffered a serious injury in a motor cycle accident a few months after the offences were committed and is now using a wheelchair.

The judge gave them bail but told them to expect jail sentences. He said: “Custodial sentences are as inevitable as the dawning of tomorrow. You must prepare yourself for that outcome.”

During the trial the jury heard how both girls lied to their parents about having a sleepover at each others’ houses and instead went to the flat of the 22-year-old older sister of a third schoolmate.

They had all been drinking before Pollard and Allen turned up around midnight with cans of lager and amphetamines, which they used to make ‘bombs’.

Pollard went on to have full sex with one girl and Allen had oral sex with both. They sent out for more alcohol and condoms during the night, which were ordered by Allen and paid for by Pollard.

The men initially denied any sexual contact but in court said they believed both girls were well over 16, despite evidence from both that they had told them their age.

During the trial the father of one of the victims said he had been livid when he learned what had happened. He said his daughter described the men as ‘baseball cap and gold chain wearing chavvy types’.