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Babysitter who had sex with 11-year-old has suspended sentence upheld

Jade Hatt
Jade Hatt

A babysitter who had sex with an 11-year-old boy, has had her suspended sentence upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Three judges said that the Attorney General was right to refer the case of 21-year-old Jade Hatt but, after "anxious review", they had decided they should not interfere with the sentence of six months suspended for two years together with a supervision requirement.

Hatt was sentenced at Swindon Crown Court in October after pleading guilty to an offence of sexual activity with a child.

Lawyers for the Attorney General Jeremy Wright had argued that the sentence was unduly lenient and an immediate custodial term should have been imposed.

But Hatt's solicitor-advocate Robert Ross said it was an exceptional case involving a "sad, wretched, emotionally immature young woman" who made an abominable mistake which she promptly admitted.

Lord Justice Treacy said that Hatt, who has a low IQ, was very vulnerable and craved intimacy but was in a position of trust.

The boy, who was said to be mature, might appear to be unaffected at present but the full impact was likely to become more apparent as he got older and had age-appropriate relationships.

Hatt knew what she was doing was wrong but it was a relatively short-lived episode of 45 seconds and she stopped when asked to.

Calling it a difficult case, he said there was a sufficient prospect of rehabilitation, given Hatt's "openness, frankness and remorse".

"In those circumstances, while the judge's sentence could be categorised as lenient, we do not think it can safely be described as unduly lenient."

A spokesman for the NSPCC, which wrote to the Attorney General about concerns over the original sentencing, said: "We are deeply disappointed by the Court of Appeal's decision and share the frustration of the boy's mother.

"This sentence sends out completely the wrong message to female offenders; suggesting the grotesque sexual exploitation of an 11-year-old boy by a woman in her 20s is somehow a less serious crime than if the sexes of the victim and perpetrator were reversed.

"Even the Attorney General argued the sentencing was 'unduly lenient' and we can only speculate that the outcome would have been very different if the abuser was a man."