April 2019

Ludlow woman, 28, who had sex with 15-year-old boy is spared jail

A Ludlow woman who engaged in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy before telling his family has been spared jail.

Helen Bell, 28, of Jockey Field, had befriended the boy before their relationship became sexual.

The pair then informed his family and the police were involved in the matter.

Bell was spared a prison term by Judge Peter Barrie at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Tuesday.

The court had heard how the sexual relationship between the pair had been consensual and the boy had not felt any adverse effects from the relationship.

Judge Barrie said: “You knew he was 15-and-a-half years old.

“The relationship had turned sexual and you had a responsibility to put a stop to it, but you didn’t and know it was wrong.”

Giving his summing up before passing his sentence, the judge said that he did not consider Bell to be predatory.

He said: “The boy has not had a problem as a result of his experience.

“But is is the law not to have a sexual relationship with a child under the age of 16.“This is not a case of abuse of trust, because you are not a teacher or a scout leader.

“I think the age difference is significant.”

Judge Barrie explained how Bell had suffered from a major depression and had a “deep-seated need for attention.”

He went on to say that the matter all came to a head when the boy and Bell went to visit his family to tell them what had been taking place.

Sentencing Bell, Judge Barrie reduced a 30-month prison sentence to 20 months, and suspended it for 18 months.

Bell was ordered to complete 50 days of rehabilitation and 120 hours of unpaid work.

She was also ordered to pay £500 towards costs.